Devotional

Making God Known

19 May 2024, 12:00 am

A love for God and for people undergirds Kathryn’s Bible translating work. She rejoices when women in India come to a deeper understanding of Scripture, reading it in their mother tongue. She remarks that when they do, “They often start cheering or clapping. They read about Jesus, and they say, ‘Oh, wonderful!’ ”

Kathryn longs for more people to read the Bible in their own language. In this desire, she holds close to her heart the vision of the aging disciple John on the island of Patmos. Through the Spirit, God ushered him into the throne room of heaven, where he saw “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9). All together they worshiped God, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God” (v. 10).

God continues to add to the great number of people praising Him. He uses not only the work of Bible translators and those praying for them, but also those who reach out to their neighbors in love with the good news of Jesus. We can rejoice in this joyful mission, marveling at how God will spark more people to join with the angels in saying, “Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever” (v. 12).

More


Called and Equipped by God

18 May 2024, 12:00 am

“Your job for the international book expo,” my boss informed me, “is to organize an onsite radio broadcast.” I felt fear because this was new territory for me. God, I’ve never done anything like this, I prayed. Please help me.

God provided resources and people to guide me: experienced technicians and broadcasters; plus reminders during the expo of details I’d overlooked. In retrospect, I know that the broadcast went well because God knew what was needed and prompted me to use the skills He’d already given me.

When God calls us to a task, He also equips us for it. When He assigned Bezalel to work on the tabernacle, Bezalel was already a skilled craftsman. God further equipped him by filling him with His Spirit and with wisdom, understanding, knowledge, and all kinds of skills (Exodus 31:3). God also gave him an assistant in Oholiab, as well as a skilled workforce (v. 6). With His enablement, the team designed and made the tent, its furnishings, and the priests’ garments. These were instrumental in the Israelites’ proper worship of God (vv. 7-11).

Bezalel means “in the shadow [protection] of God.” The craftsman worked on the project of a lifetime under God’s protection, power, and provision. Let’s courageously obey God’s prompting as we carry out a task to completion. He knows what we need, and how and when to give it─or even withhold it.

More


A Change of Venue

17 May 2024, 12:00 am

My friend Joann passed away from a stroke just as the coronavirus began to spread in 2020. At first her family published that her memorial service would be at her church, but then it was determined it was best to hold it at a funeral home to control the size of the group attending. The new notice online read: Joann Warners—Changed Venue.

Yes, her venue had changed! She’d gone from the venue of earth to the venue of heaven. God changed her life years before, and she lovingly served Him for nearly fifty years. Even while she lay near death in the hospital, she asked about others she loved who were struggling. Now she’s present with Him; she has changed venues.

The apostle Paul had the desire to be with Christ in another venue (2 Corinthians 5:8), but he also felt it would be better for the people he served for him to remain on Earth. He wrote to the Philippians, “It is more necessary for you that I remain in the body” (Philippians 1:24). When we grieve for someone like Joann, we may cry out to God something similar: They’re needed here by me and many others they loved and served. But God knows the best timing for their change of venue and our own.

In the Spirit’s strength, we now “make it our goal to please [God]” (2 Corinthians 5:9) until we see Him face-to-face—which will be far better.

More


God’s Handiwork

16 May 2024, 12:00 am

On July 12, 2022, scientists awaited the first images of deepest space from the new James Webb Space Telescope. The state-of-the-art telescope can look farther into the universe than mankind has ever looked before. Suddenly a breathtaking image emerges: a color space-scape of the Carina Nebula, never before seen like this. One NASA astronomer quoted Carl Sagan, a noted atheist: “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting.”

Sometimes people can look God in the eye and not see Him. But the psalmist David looked into the sky and knew exactly what he was seeing: “You have set your glory in the heavens” (Psalm 8:1). Sagan was right that “something incredible is waiting,” but he failed to acknowledge what David clearly perceived: “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them” (vv. 3-4).

When we see images of deepest space, we are amazed, not so much because of technology, but because we’re witnessing the handiwork of God. We marvel because in the vastness of creation God has made us “rulers over the works of [his] hands” (v. 8:6).  Indeed something “incredible is waiting”—God, waiting to bring believers in Jesus to Him. That’s the most breathtaking image of all.

More