Living for Christ

April 2012 Daily Devotion Archive

April 1:
How can a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed according to Your word.
With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.
Blessed are You, O Lord!
Teach me Your statutes.
With my lips I have declared
All the judgments of Your mouth.
I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
As much as in all riches.
I will meditate on Your precepts,
And contemplate Your ways.
I will delight myself in Your statutes;
I will not forget Your word.
Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.
- Psalm 119:9-16, 105

April 2:
Blessings & Warnings From the Lord, Part 1 of 2

You shall not make idols for yourselves; neither a carved image nor a sacred pillar shall you rear up for yourselves; nor shall you set up an engraved stone in your land, to bow down to it; for I am the Lord your God. You shall keep My Sabbaths and reverence My sanctuary: I am the Lord. If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them, then I will give you rain in its season, the land shall yield its produce, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. - Leviticus 26:1-4

At the end of the book of Leviticus, God passes along a series of blessings to the people of Israel. (I stopped with verse 4 for the purpose of this devotional, but the blessings actually continue through verse 13, if you would like to read further on your own.) The overall message is this: If the people keep God's commandments and follow His will, then they will be blessed. I believe the same holds true for us today, even though we are now under the New Covenant, forgiven through the blood of Jesus. God promises to bless His people who follow Him. What if we don't? We'll take a look at His warnings in part two.

Question to Ponder: Are you following God's plan for your life? How has He blessed you?

April 3:
Going through Fire! (Part 1 of 5)

"You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image--any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God..." - Exodus 20:3-5

In Daniel 3:1-15, King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold. He sent word out gather together all of his government leaders to come to the dedication of the image which he had set up. Then a herald cried aloud: "To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace." There were certain Jews who the King had set over the affairs of different provinces, who did not serve the King's gods or worship the gold image the King had made. The King summoned these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He asked them, "Is it true...that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up?" Now the King gives these men another chance he tells them if they are ready, when they hear the symphony with all kinds of music, and they fall down and worship the image--good! But if they do not, they will be cast into the burning fiery furnace immediately! The King said to them, "And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?"

April 4:
The World Hates Jesus

"The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil." - John 7:7

Here, Jesus is speaking to His brothers. This verse really caught my attention, and it certainly is true. So much of the world that we live in, perhaps moreso today than ever before, hates Jesus, Christianity, and many of the ideals that Christians stand for. Why is that? There are many reasons, but Jesus Himself gives us one of the biggest reasons right here. In order to be saved by Jesus Christ, you have to first admit that you are a sinner in need of His forgiveness. We are all sinners, but that short statement is what many people have a problem with. Why is that? Many people want to feel "free" to do whatever they want and not have to worry about the consequences, either in this life or after death. They don't want to be told that what they are doing is evil or sinful. However, there is an absolute truth, and the truth is, certain things are sinful. We are all in need of Jesus' love and forgiveness! I put the word "free" in quotation marks because true freedom comes only through Jesus, who is the truth and the light.

Question to Ponder: What signs do you see that the world hates Jesus? How can you better show His love to the world?

April 5:
No Stones Were Thrown

They said to Him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?" ... [Jesus said,] "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more." - John 8:4-5, 7b-11

There are at least three things we can learn from this story. First, this is a great example of Jesus' forgiveness. This woman didn't do anything to deserve His forgiveness, but He freely gave it anyway. At the same time, though, He told her to sin no more; He expected her lifestyle to change. Finally, we all sin, and we have no right to judge someone else for their sins.

Question to Ponder: Do you act like this group of people, eager to throw a stone at someone else while ignoring your own sin?

April 6:
Stick to the Truth

As I urged you when I went into Macedonia--remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith. Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith. - 1 Timothy 1:3-5

The Bible, the Word of God, is the absolute truth. Some people try to twist its words or make claims that are out of context in order to satisfy their own agendas. That may make some people feel better in this life, but the Bible isn't a "feel-good" story. It is simply the truth, delivered to us straight from God. Anyone who tries to claim that something else is the truth will ultimately cause divisions in the church, as Paul warns in these verses. In order to discover the truth, we only need to go to God's Word and see what He tells us. Be careful not to be led astray by such people. As Christians, we know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and we need to unite and spread that message to the world around us!

Question to Ponder: Do you wholeheartedly believe in the absolute truth of the Bible?

April 7:
The Abundant Grace of God

And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. - 1 Timothy 1:12-17

Before he was saved by Jesus, Paul committed horrific acts against Christians, some of which he mentions here. Now, having been saved, he freely recognizes his sin (calling himself the chief of all sinners), and is clearly extremely grateful for God's grace. No matter what you may have done in the past, God forgives--and He freely gives His grace to all of us!

Question to Ponder: How thankful are you for the grace that God has shown toward you?

April 8:
Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes,
And I shall keep it to the end.
Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law;
Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart.
Make me walk in the path of Your commandments,
For I delight in it.
Incline my heart to Your testimonies,
And not to covetousness.
Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things,
And revive me in Your way.
Establish Your word to Your servant,
Who is devoted to fearing You.
Turn away my reproach which I dread,
For Your judgments are good.
Behold, I long for Your precepts;
Revive me in Your righteousness.
- Psalm 119:33-40

April 9:
Blessings & Warnings From the Lord, Part 2 of 2

But if you do not obey Me, and do not observe all these commandments, and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant, I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies. Those who hate you shall reign over you, and you shall flee when no one pursues you. - Leviticus 26:14-17

In part one, we saw how God promised to bless His people if they follow His commands and remain in His will. Here, we see what happens if they don't (and the list of warnings and punishments actually continues through verse 33). There is a definite right and wrong, and that issue is a very serious one for God. Yes, God is love, but He loves us so much that He wants us to do what is right! There are always consequences when we sin, and God never takes the issue of sin lightly.

Question to Ponder: Do you take sin seriously and heed God's warnings, or do you just think it isn't a big deal?

April 10:
Going through Fire! (Part 2 of 5)

Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. - Psalms 91:14-15
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up." - Daniel 3:16-18

Wow! What faith of these three men! They know that God could deliver them, but they also knew that God may not have chosen to do so. They were willing to serve the one true God, and to do His will--even if HIS will meant they would die in the fire. They'd rather die than serve an idol! Now let's think a little differently...let's say the fire represents trials in your life such as relationships, family, future, or school. In John 16:33 it says, " In this world you will have tribulation..."

April 11:
True Freedom is Only in Jesus

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." They answered Him, "We are Abraham's descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, You will be made free?" Jesus answered them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." - John 8:31-36

Living the kind of lifestyle in which you do whatever you want is not true freedom. Sure, it may appear to be freeing, but the consequences of those actions are going to catch up to you sooner or later. True freedom, however, can only be found in Jesus Christ. When we place our faith in Him, He forgives us of our sins, and we are given the power to become free from those sins. Yes, we are still human and we will probably still sin, but Jesus gives us the power to overcome sin. What could be more freeing than that?

Question to Ponder: Are you trapped in a sin that you falsely believe gives you freedom, or are you truly free in Jesus?

April 12:
Sometimes, Bad Things Happen

Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." - John 9:1-5

Apparently, Jesus' disciples falsely assumed that someone must have sinned in order for this man to have been born blind. However, as Jesus tells us, that was not the case. Sometimes, bad things happen for a reason that we can clearly see, or as a consequence of some other action. Other times, bad things just happen. There is still a reason (from God's perspective), but we may not be able to see what that reason is. In those cases, God may be planning to use that bad thing in order to bring glory to Himself, and maybe even to lead more people to Him. Don't let those things trouble you; let God use you to fulfill His plan!

Question to Ponder: If something bad happens, do you blame God or ask Him to use it for good?

April 13:
Praying for Leaders, and Who is Jesus?

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle--I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying--a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. - 1 Timothy 2:1-7

First, Paul advises us to remember our leaders in prayer--even if we do not particularly like them or their style of leadership. I myself am guilty of not doing much praying of this nature, but it is important. If you don't like what our leaders are doing, then your prayers are that much more important! Paul goes on to tell us in very specific terms who Jesus is--the Mediator between God and mankind, who loved us enough to die for all of us so that we might have eternal life with Him.

Question to Ponder: How often do you pray for our leaders? And, do you truly know who Jesus is?

April 14:
A Modest Woman

In like manner also, [I desire] that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. - 1 Timothy 2:9-10

Sadly, we live in a culture that is becoming more sexual and less modest. I feel sure that the problem is far worse today than it was in Paul's time, especially with all the media we have nowadays. Still, he addresses the issue in these verses by advising women on how they should dress and conduct themselves. Modesty is extremely important (for all of us, but young women probably need to hear this message more than anyone). If you dress modestly, it will likely cause people to respect you more than they would if you didn't. Being modest also helps to spread God's Word because people can tell that you are setting yourself apart from the world. Paul also advises women to not adorn themselves with costly jewelry or clothing, because that can also cause you to appear worldly instead of godly.

Question to Ponder: Each day when you get dressed, ask yourself: "Am I honoring God with the way I am dressed?"

April 15:
I will lift up my eyes to the hills--From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.
- Psalm 121:1-8

April 16:

Now when the people complained, it displeased the Lord; for the Lord heard it, and His anger was aroused. ... The children of Israel also wept again and said: "Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!" - Numbers 11:1, 4b-6

The Israelites were slaves in Egypt and God freed them, but they completely forgot all of that because they wanted something else to eat! God was still providing for them by giving them manna (most likely a type of bread) to eat, just not in the way that they wanted. How often do we forget what all God has done for us, and instead complain about one little thing? Especially in our materialistic culture, it can be easy to act like this. But we should never forget everything God has given to us, including His Son, who died for our sins. We desperately need to have a spirit of thanksgiving!

Question to Ponder: How often do you find yourself complaining about things instead of being thankful for what God has done?

April 17:
Going through Fire! (Part 3 of 5)

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up. - Daniel 3:16-18

Do you believe that God has a purpose for the fires in your life? The fires are meant to teach you to trust Him more, to obey regardless of circumstances or results. God allows situations or trials in our lives because they are meant to increase our faith and learn to respond correctly in each situation. Did you know that fire is a purifier? Could it be that God wants to purge the sin and give a clean and pure heart, to refine you more like Him? Here are a few biblical "fires" and God's purpose for them:
1. God allowed Joseph to be sold into slavery. What the brothers intended for bad, God intended for good!
2. God allowed Daniel to be put into the lion's den. God sent deliverance.
3. God allowed Paul to be shipwrecked that He might save him.
*God is able to take care of you in the most terrible circumstances.*

April 18:
The Parable of the Good Samaritan

Then Jesus answered and said: "A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you. So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?" And he said, "He who showed mercy on him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise." - Luke 10:30-37

Question to Ponder: Which person are you most like--the priest or the Levite, or the good Samaritan?

April 19:
Busy, Busy, Busy

Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me." And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her." - Luke 10:38-42

Mary knew how valuable time with Jesus was, and she took the time to just sit and listen to Him. Meanwhile, her sister Martha was bustling around the house, worrying over things that she really didn't need to be worrying about. Mary knew what was most important, but Martha was distracted by worldly things that kept her busy and took her mind off what was really important. The same thing happens to people today when we allow things like cell phones and social media to take over.

Question to Ponder: Who are you more like, Mary or Martha?

April 20:
Attributes of Church Leaders

A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience. But let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being found blameless. Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. - 1 Timothy 3:2-11

Question to Ponder: Whether or not you are a church leader, how does your lifestyle match up with these attributes?

April 21:
Young People: Be an Example!

Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you. - 1 Timothy 4:12-16

Paul is writing to Timothy, who is still a young man at the time. Someone of Timothy's age might easily get discouraged, so Paul wants to give him some encouragement to stay strong in the faith! He also advises Timothy to be a positive example to those around him, which is good advice for all of us. This is particularly difficult for young people (especially teenagers), but it is vitally important, because this world desperately needs to see followers of Christ shining through the darkness!

Question to Ponder: How brightly does your light shine into the dark world around you?

April 22:
Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep.
- Psalm 127:1-2

April 23:
Sometimes God Gives Us What We Want

[The Lord said to Moses...] "Then you shall say to the people, Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the hearing of the Lord, saying, "Who will give us meat to eat? For it was well with us in Egypt." Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you shall eat. You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, but for a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have despised the Lord who is among you, and have wept before Him, saying, "Why did we ever come up out of Egypt?" " - Numbers 11:18-20

After the Israelites complained about having to eat manna every single day, God gave them what they wanted--and far too much of it. I strongly believe that, sometimes, God gives us exactly what we ask for (that is, when we're asking for something that we shouldn't be asking for) in order to teach us a lesson. We need to remember that everything always turns out better when we stick to God's plan. Pray for your desires to line up with God's will, and He will always provide for your needs.

Question to Ponder: Has God ever given you what you asked for to teach you a lesson? If so, what did you learn?

April 24:
Going through Fire! (Part 4 of 5)

In Daniel 3:19-26, King Nebuchadnezzar was furious that these three men did not bow and worship his gold idol. He commanded that the furnace be heated seven times hotter than usual. Men in his army bound Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego and tossed into the flames! The flames were so hot that the men who took these three to the fire were killed from the heat! The King being astonished rushed to his advisors and asked," did we not toss three men, bound into the fire?" They confirmed it to be so. The king at once said, "Look! I see four men walking in the fire; and they are not hurt, and the fourth is like the Son of God." The king spoke into the fiery furnace saying,"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here! The three men did so.

Amazing! Verse 27 goes on to tell us that the fire had not touched or harmed their bodies, and no smell of fire was on them!

April 25:
The Lord's Prayer

Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." So He said to them, "When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." - Luke 11:1-4

Jesus gave us this model for prayer. Obviously, He doesn't want us to merely recite these exact words over and over, but to use this as a guide. Jesus covers a variety of ideas within this short prayer: He gives reverence to God, He acknowledges the importance of following God's will, He asks for a basic necessity in this life (food), He asks for forgiveness, and He asks for deliverance from Satan's temptations. These are some of the things we should focus on when we pray. Also notice that Jesus uses the word "us" several times, indicating that His prayer is not a selfish one for Himself but is for other people as well.

Question to Ponder: Which of these things that Jesus prayed for do you most often neglect in your prayer life?

April 26:
Who Is Jesus?

But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons." Others, testing Him, sought from Him a sign from heaven. But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? Because you say I cast out demons by Beelzebub. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you." - Luke 11:15-20

These people were so eager to find anything to use against Jesus that they started to come up with some really ridiculous ideas. Here, they claim that Jesus was casting out demons by the power of Satan! How could Satan cast himself out? Still today, people made ridiculous claims about Jesus--claiming that He was a liar or a fraud--all because they don't want to accept the truth. But we know the truth--Jesus is the One and Only Son of God!

Question to Ponder: Who is Jesus?

April 27:
The Love of Money, Part 1 of 2

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. - 1 Timothy 6:6-10

A common expression says that "money is the root of evil." However, money itself isn't evil. It is, in fact, a necessary part of life. But when greed for more money and more things becomes a problem for you, then your love of money is rooted in evil. Another common expression is true: Money cannot buy happiness. Sadly, so many people fall into the trap of thinking that if they only had more money, more things, a bigger house, or a new car, then they will suddenly be happy with their life! But in reality, that idea comes straight from Satan because it is clearly a lie. Happiness will never come from money or material things.

Question to Ponder: On a scale from 1 to 10, how strong is your desire to buy new things? Is this a godly perspective?

April 28:
The Love of Money, Part 2 of 2

Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. - 1 Timothy 6:6-10

So where does happiness come from? True happiness and joy can only come from Jesus Christ, who is eagerly waiting to fill your heart with joy if you will turn your life over to Him. I know this because I experience His joy in my own heart-and believe me, it is far better than anything this world can offer! Don't let yourself be tricked into thinking that buying something will make you happy. Ignore advertisements and pressure from businesses and remember where true contentment comes from. Even better, give some of your money back to God, and your joy will increase even more.

Question to Ponder: What are some things that you regularly spend money on that really are not necessary?

April 29:
Blessed is every one who fears the Lord,
Who walks in His ways.
When you eat the labor of your hands,
You shall be happy, and it shall be well with you.
Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine
In the very heart of your house,
Your children like olive plants
All around your table.
Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
Who fears the Lord.
- Psalm 128:1-4

April 30:
Doubting God's Power

And Moses said, "The people whom I am among are six hundred thousand men on foot; yet You have said, I will give them meat, that they may eat for a whole month. Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, to provide enough for them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to provide enough for them?" And the Lord said to Moses, "Has the Lord's arm been shortened? Now you shall see whether what I say will happen to you or not." - Numbers 11:21-23

This passage takes place right after the Israelites complain about the manna and God tells Moses that He is going to send an excessive amount of meat because of their ungratefulness, until they become sick and tired of it. Read Moses' response to God very carefully. Do you see the problem here? It seems like He completely forgot who God is and what He is capable of, if he doubted that God could provide meat for 600,000 people! Never doubt God, and never underestimate Him. He created the whole universe and everything in it, so surely He can take care of His people!

Question to Ponder: Do you ever wonder if God is able to do something for you?