Life This Side of Heaven
Audible devotions for your day every Monday to Saturday. Join us as we rejoice in His grace, knowing from His Word that He loves us and forgives us, and confident that He is with us every step of the way – on this side of heaven. Devotions for real life.
By feeding the crowd, Jesus would have calmed people who were both anxious and hungry. He provided them with a meal that they would certainly savor. And it would also put them in mind of God's mercies to them in past. Jesus, the Bread of Life, continues to do these things for you and me this very day.
Spoiled Plans For Rest?
I'll be the disciple were looking forward to the rest to which Jesus had invited them. Do you ever wonder if they might have groaned in disappointment when they saw the crowd waiting for them on the shore? Were their plans spoiled? Perhaps not. It might be worth a closer look at Jesus' invitation.
Longer Than Skyscrapers And The Pyramids
“Will the skyscrapers outlast the pyramids?” That was the provocative title of a BBC article a number of years ago. Okay, now to be interesting, let’s add a third category to that question. What about God’s Church? It’s not as frivolous a question as it may sound.
Does God Feel ... Far Away?
Does God ever feel … far away? Does God seem distant from what’s taking place in your life right now? Does it seem as if He’s not hearing your prayers?
A Life-Giving Graft
Grafting is an agricultural practice in which a shoot, or branch, is placed on another tree so that they may live together and grow. But can a graft bring life to a tree that is lifeless, to stump that is dead? God answers that question here in Jeremiah and tells us of the extraordinary Branch He promised which now brings life.
Sheep In The Deep End
I’m sure most of you have seen the stirring pieces of artwork which depict a brave shepherd rescuing a sheep from on a dangerous, rocky precipice or caught in a patch of thorns. But how about a swimming pool?
God Bless You ... No, Really!
The Lord bless you. Was God being sarcastic? Was He giving instructions to Moses on how to insult his fellow Israelites? Not hardly! However, it shouldn’t surprise us that the adversary wants us to take this incredible declaration of God's love, which bring such comfort, and turn it into an insult.
Peer Pressure And Debt
Peer pressure can lead us to do things we would never imagine. In order to keep up appearances, we may allow ourselves to incur an awful debt. Herod Antipas soon discovered this. The remarkable thing is that John the Baptizer came to point Herod, and you and me, to the One who came to bring us out from under our debt of sin.
This "Raised" News Is All Good
When Herod Antipas heard of Jesus, and the message of repentance He had given to the disciples to proclaim, it sounded eerily familiar. He mistakenly thought that John the Baptizer had been raised from the dead. He must have thought to himself, "This can't be good." After all, he had had John executed. However, here's the One who had come to take away our sins. He, too, would be executed. But for you and me, and all who are called to repentance and faith in Him, news that our Savior has been raised from the dead is ALL good!<...
If the storm is approaching, an emergency weather radio will announce the sobering advice: “Take shelter in an interior room on the lowest floor of a building if at all possible.” In other words, you don’t want to be outside. You want to be in. In Ephesians, Paul points us the shelter God provides in life's storms and what it means to be "in Christ."
God Had You In Mind
Sometimes it's tempting to think that we “chose” Jesus – like picking a suit off the rack, perhaps even a Savior we alter to fit us. But, when it comes to your salvation, the apostle Paul tells us it’s actually the other way around. And that's remarkably reassuring.
True To Plumb
God gave to the prophet Amos a remarkable illustration of the danger Israel's sin had brought upon itself. He showed him a plumb line. A plumb line has the effect of making it obvious when something is uneven and about to fall. God's Law has this useful effect in our lives as well. But God does more that point out the danger. He also points us to the remedy – His Son.
Shake It Off
Shake it off, like sand from your flip flops at the beach. It can be discouraging when those with home we share the faith toss it back at us and want nothing to do with it. However, don’t let the hostile reception you may receive, cloud the great joy and privilege you’ve been given.
Don't Fuss Over Packing
Early in the Gospel, Mark tells us about a short-term mission trip on which Jesus sent the disciples to share the Good News. And he records the packing list that Jesus gave them. However, you may scratch your head as you read that same packing list in Matthew and Luke. It sounds different. Is it?
Our Savior Is Good With His Hands
Jesus is good with His hands. That’s not something we tend to think about very often, but it’s true.
Our Hometown Hero Is One Of Us
Mark tells us of a time when He visited His hometown. He had just come off the triumphs of calming the storm and raising Jairus’ daughter from the dead. And His teaching in the synagogue was breathtaking. But there was no celebration, no parade, no honored guests.
Neither Brain Surgery Nor Rocket Science
When you what God gave Paul to keep him from becoming "conceited" it may paint a strange picture of what he’s really saying. Today, whenever we say that someone is “conceited,” we usually tend to think they’re snotty or obnoxious, the kind of arrogant person you try to avoid at parties. ?But the apostle has even more in mind.
Iron Nails And A Plastic Hammer?
When it comes to sharing God's Word with a sinful, heart-hardened and rebellious world, does it ever feel hopeless – as it God has equipped us with a plastic hammer to drive in iron nails? Take another look at your tool belt.
The Privilege Of Taking Part In Relief To The Saints
Paul describes how the churches in Macedonia pleaded urgently for "the privilege" of sharing in the relief to their fellow-redeemed. There's a reason they responded in this manner and why this continues to be true among brothers and sisters in Christ today.
They Laughed At Him
It would hard to imagine the home of Jairus, where his daughter had just died as being the scene of laughter, but the room was soon filled with it.
Jesus’ order for doing things may often seem “off” to us. He doesn’t do things in the order that people would expect. But our healing Savior knows our most urgent need.
Making Way For Something Better
In Jeremiah, the prophet describes a time in which God did allow all of this come crashing down to make room for something much better. And there are times when God may allow things to come crashing down around us for this reason as well.
It Is Good To Wait?
When it comes to waiting in this life it often means how long you can tap your feet before you start going crazy. However, the Hebrew word for “wait” means much more. And it's the reason why Jeremiah says that waiting for the Lord is good.
Clear Focus, Not Rose-Colored Glasses
In Lamentations, Jeremiah recorded some of the most uplifting words of encouragement. However, was the prophet wearing "rose-colored glasses” when he penned these words?
Jesus, Don't You Care?
How could God let this happen? Doesn’t Jesus know what I’m going through? Doesn’t He care? The disciples may have felt this way in the midst of the storm. Have you ever been faced with the same questions?
Never Bring Knife To A Gun Fight
“Never bring a knife to a gunfight.” Have you ever heard that phrase? It’s become one of those familiar and stock phrases used in action movies. Since then, the phrase itself has gone on to become a familiar idiom to highlight the importance of being well-equipped. Paul may have something similar to this in mind here in 2 Corinthians.
As Having Nothing, Yet Possessing Everything
“Don’t let your circumstances define who you are.” That’s advice that Paul could well have shared here in 2 Corinthians. Paul’s history is like our own – a true rags to riches story.
Today Is A Prime Time
In 2 Corinthians, Paul notes, “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” And there is real urgency in his words. It’s a sober reminder that this time of grace won’t be around forever. At the same time, it's also a reminder that there is a tremendous opportunity before us that won't come around again.
Rewriting The Bumper Sticker
As Paul points out, it wasn’t easy being an apostle. At the same time, it's not easy in our culture to be a Christian. When it comes to sharing your Savior with family, friends and neighbors, and all the difficulties that come with it, have you ever been tempted to ask, "Why do I even bother?"
Who's In Control Here?
What can you do when everything in your life feels like it’s out of your control? It’s a terrifying experience. We like it when our days roll along without surprises and just as we had planned. We may even take that to be an indication that God must be really pleased with us. If we take enjoying a good life to mean to that God is please with us, then what else can it mean if all of that suddenly changes?
Here's The Beef!
Have you ever heard a sermon on a Sunday morning that uses a vivid illustration that sticks with you long after you’ve heard it? Now you get an idea of why Jesus used so many parables when He taught and preached. In fact He used _a lo_t of parables for this reason.
Insignificant To Magnificent
Our Savior’s reign and rule isn’t outwardly amazing. In fact, it appears quite small and even insignificant. However, its results are magnificent.
God Grows His Kingdom
So Jesus told them, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground.” That doesn’t sound like much, but listen to what He points out next. Like seeds growing on a farm, in this low-key, unostentatious, un-showy way, God Word's Word is planted – and in this way He grows His kingdom.
Our Goal To Please Him
Sadly, for many, the Christian life is thought of as little more than matter of rules and regulations. Instead, as Paul points out, it’s the free and joy-filled life that comes in grateful response to the salvation God has given to us in His Son.
Patience and Planting
In Ezekiel, the prophet tells us of a planting that didn't take. In sinful impatience the people of Judah learned a hard lesson. However, he goes on to tell us of another planting- this one by God Himself. And today, we rest in the shade of His mercy.
Faith's "Corrective Lenses"
When Jesus describes the "abundant life," it's easy to look around and ask, "Where is it?" In 2 Corinthians, Paul describes the specific vision problem that all of us face–young or old. Thankfully, he also points us to faith's "corrective lenses."
Have I Committed The Unforgivable Sin?
Have I committed the unforgivable sin? If there’s ever a question that causes more concern, and raises even more questions, it’s hard to imagine it. For consciences, already tormented with guilt from sin, the thought that there may be one for which no pardon is possible, is terrifying. If you are concerned with this question there is real comfort for you in God's Word that you will want to hear.
In 2 Corinthians, Paul, who was a tent-maker by trade, uses a vivid image to describe these earthly bodies of ours. And, in many ways they’re like an old tent. It’s not always as easy camp. But the apostle points us to the sure and certain hope that is ours, through faith, in Christ and the resurrection.
Hey Look, Over Here
Sometimes, with all of the struggles and trouble that comes our way in life, if you and I were to focus our eyes on our temporal plight it would be hard not to feel crushed and disappointed. But there’s more to your story, and God's Word directs our focus to it.
Whenever there is a shortage of something the one thing you can count on is a surplus of blame. And when Adam sinned and found himself bereft of holiness and righteousness he quickly began to point fingers. It's a reaction we share when we stumble and fall into sin. It makes God's promise of grace even more remarkable.