Resources


Resources
Devotions for Men

God’s Direction 

for Life’s Long Journey

 

"Since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives." Colossians 1:9

 

Our Lord doesn’t want our discipleship to be a power struggle. But neither is God’s control in our lives robotic. Jesus intends his invitation “Follow me” to be liberating! In fact, following Jesus makes us better leaders—in our families, at work, and in the community.

 

Trusting his direction gives us peace and assurance as we lead others. Making ourselves at home in his Word makes us more confident spiritual leaders in our homes and at church. But Jesus also knows it’s easy to become complacent on our long journey through life. He knows it’s easy to lose our focus.

 

That’s why he provides opportunities for personal devotion and study—like the time you’re investing right now. It’s why he urges us to worship with other Christians in church, sharing with one another the freeing truths of the Bible. It’s why he is pleased when men make time for small-group Bible study and prayer. All these fortify our faith, as do service opportunities and one-on-one mentoring relationships. Do you seek out and seize opportunities like these?

 

We’re on a long trip, but our Savior has everything under control. Sit back and enjoy the ride, allowing him to grow your faith and free you to enjoy the abundant and forgiven life he has in mind for you.

 

Prayer: Teach me your way, Lord! Grant me the knowledge of your perfect will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. You take the lead. By your grace, I’ll trust and follow. Amen. 


 

This devotion has been adapted from one that first appeared in CTA’s devotion book for men entitled God’s Direction Is Always Best. You are welcome to copy it for one-time use in your organization as long as you will receive no monetary benefit from it. Please include the copyright line printed below.

 

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com

 

Used with permission grant #00072012. © 2012 CTA, Inc. No duplication of this devotion is allowed without the express written consent of CTA, PO Box 1205, Fenton, MO 63026-1205. www.CTAinc.com.

 

Devotions For Women


Show-Stopping Beauty

 

God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:6

 

Our culture idolizes outward beauty and the people who embody it. We all know who the “beautiful people” are. Still, ideas of beauty change over time and across cultures. What is beauty, really? Is there a definition, a portrait of beauty that endures through all time and applies in every place? The surprising answer is yes!

 

At first, though, that picture may surprise you. Unsurpassed, eternal beauty hung on a rough-hewn cross on the day Christians call Good Friday. On Calvary’s cross, true beauty was clearly visible, unmistakable, as in love, Jesus took onto himself the repulsiveness of our sin.

 

Jesus died to wash away our guilt. Now, he wraps us in his grace, giving us his very own beauty, his own perfect obedience to the law of God. It’s his gift to us, a gift that is at work in us, making us more and more outwardly beautiful—beautiful in forgiveness, patience, and love.

 

Prayer: My Savior, thank you for making me beautiful. Help me reflect the beauty of your selfless love today and always. Amen.

 

 


 

 

 

 

This devotion has been adapted from one that appeared in CTA’s devotion book for women entitled Reflecting the Beauty of the Lord. You are welcome to copy it for one-time use in your organization as long as you will receive no monetary benefit from it. Please include the copyright lines printed below.

 

Scripture is from the King James Version of the Bible.

 

Used with permission grant #010112. © 2012 CTA, Inc. No duplication of this article is allowed without the express written consent of CTA, PO Box 1205, Fenton, MO 63026-1205. www.CTAinc.com.

river forty yards from shore. An airboat, harbor police boats, a fire department rescue boat—all were launched, but none could plow their way through the ice that jammed the channel.
Thirteen minutes later, a helicopter appeared overhead. The pilot struggled mightily to hold it in position above the survivors while the storm’s winds buffeted the rotors. Then someone in the helicopter lowered a life ring to the surface of the river. It landed near one survivor. Grasping it, he was lifted into the rescue chopper.
Then the ring dropped to the river’s surface again. A survivor grabbed it—and handed it off to someone else. The helicopter lifted her to safety. The ring hit the water a third time. The same survivor grabbed it—and again gave it away. Again, and again, and again, the man gave the ring away. Finally, the ring landed in the water for the sixth and last time. But it was too late. The hero in the water had slipped beneath the ice.
For days, no one knew his name. Then the city coroner found a clue. Of the 74 bodies that had been pulled from the Potomac, only one victim’s lungs were filled with water. The others were dead before they slipped into the river. The hero in the Potomac that day was Arland Williams, Jr., a federal bank examiner who had grown up in Mattoon, Illinois.
Known to his friends as “Chub,” the 46-year-old Arland had a reputation as a great dancer and a dedicated federal employee. Those who knew Arland knew one other thing about him: he had a lifelong fear of the water.
Getting to the Heart
Stories of self-sacrifice fascinate and inspire most of us. Those willing to give their lives away for the good of others stir our hearts. We’ve all heard stories of soldiers who throw themselves on live hand grenades to save those around them. Heroes like that often earn the Congressional Medal of Honor.
No human being though, however courageous, can make the same kind of self-sacrifice our Lord Jesus made. The apostle Paul testifies that Jesus “loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Each of us can put our own name in that verse. Jesus loved us and gave himself for us on the tree of the cross. There’s no love greater than that!
Arland Williams, Jr. gave up his life for strangers; our Lord Jesus gave up the glories of heaven for sinners, rebels all. When Jesus died for us, we were his enemies! Blind and spiritually dead in our sins, we hated God. The Bible tells us so!
Still, Jesus was unwilling to give up on us. He would not let us go—not without a fight. And so, he hung, and bled, and died on Calvary’s cross for us—for you and me. Think of that! The sinless Son of God endured the punishment you deserved. The holy Lamb of God died in your place. He loved you and gave himself for you! He was plunged not into an icy river, but into death and hell itself for you! For me! Can you imagine a greater love?
This is a miracle and a mystery. No human mind can fully comprehend what happened on the day Christians call Good Friday. No human heart can fully grasp the truth of the sacrifice our Savior made that day. What a Savior we have! What love we have known!
And now, with Paul, we can also say, “The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). When we know Christ, we know our lives are not our own. We realize that we no longer belong to ourselves. We can no longer live for ourselves. We belong to the one who died for us and rose again. We live for him. We live to serve him. We live to honor him.
We do that by living as he did. We do it by living out the same kind of self-sacrificial love our Lord Jesus has shown for us. We give our lives away, but usually not in one grand act of heroism.
river forty yards from shore. An airboat, harbor police boats, a fire department rescue boat—all were launched, but none could plow their way through the ice that jammed the channel.
Thirteen minutes later, a helicopter appeared overhead. The pilot struggled mightily to hold it in position above the survivors while the storm’s winds buffeted the rotors. Then someone in the helicopter lowered a life ring to the surface of the river. It landed near one survivor. Grasping it, he was lifted into the rescue chopper.
Then the ring dropped to the river’s surface again. A survivor grabbed it—and handed it off to someone else. The helicopter lifted her to safety. The ring hit the water a third time. The same survivor grabbed it—and again gave it away. Again, and again, and again, the man gave the ring away. Finally, the ring landed in the water for the sixth and last time. But it was too late. The hero in the water had slipped beneath the ice.
For days, no one knew his name. Then the city coroner found a clue. Of the 74 bodies that had been pulled from the Potomac, only one victim’s lungs were filled with water. The others were dead before they slipped into the river. The hero in the Potomac that day was Arland Williams, Jr., a federal bank examiner who had grown up in Mattoon, Illinois.
Known to his friends as “Chub,” the 46-year-old Arland had a reputation as a great dancer and a dedicated federal employee. Those who knew Arland knew one other thing about him: he had a lifelong fear of the water.
Getting to the Heart
Stories of self-sacrifice fascinate and inspire most of us. Those willing to give their lives away for the good of others stir our hearts. We’ve all heard stories of soldiers who throw themselves on live hand grenades to save those around them. Heroes like that often earn the Congressional Medal of Honor.
No human being though, however courageous, can make the same kind of self-sacrifice our Lord Jesus made. The apostle Paul testifies that Jesus “loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Each of us can put our own name in that verse. Jesus loved us and gave himself for us on the tree of the cross. There’s no love greater than that!
Arland Williams, Jr. gave up his life for strangers; our Lord Jesus gave up the glories of heaven for sinners, rebels all. When Jesus died for us, we were his enemies! Blind and spiritually dead in our sins, we hated God. The Bible tells us so!
Still, Jesus was unwilling to give up on us. He would not let us go—not without a fight. And so, he hung, and bled, and died on Calvary’s cross for us—for you and me. Think of that! The sinless Son of God endured the punishment you deserved. The holy Lamb of God died in your place. He loved you and gave himself for you! He was plunged not into an icy river, but into death and hell itself for you! For me! Can you imagine a greater love?
This is a miracle and a mystery. No human mind can fully comprehend what happened on the day Christians call Good Friday. No human heart can fully grasp the truth of the sacrifice our Savior made that day. What a Savior we have! What love we have known!
And now, with Paul, we can also say, “The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). When we know Christ, we know our lives are not our own. We realize that we no longer belong to ourselves. We can no longer live for ourselves. We belong to the one who died for us and rose again. We live for him. We live to serve him. We live to honor him.
We do that by living as he did. We do it by living out the same kind of self-sacrificial love our Lord Jesus has shown for us. We give our lives away, but usually not in one grand act of heroism.

Stepping out of the metro train and onto the platform in Washington, D.C., a young man walked toward the wall and positioned himself beside a trash basket. By all outward appearances, he was just an ordinary guy . . . until he removed a violin from a small case. He tinkered with it for a moment and then, placing the open case at his feet and throwing in a few dollars and pocket change as seed money, he began to play.

It was 7:51 a.m., the middle of rush hour, one Friday in January 2012. During the next 43 minutes, the violinist performed six different, exquisite classical pieces. As he played, 1,097 individuals passed by. None of those passersby noticed it or guessed it, but the fiddler standing against that bare wall was one of the finest classical musicians in the world. He was playing some of the most beautiful music ever written. And he was playing this music on one of the most valuable violins ever made.

That violin was worth 3.5 million dollars. The violinist was Joshua Bell, and three days earlier he had played to a sold-out house in Boston’s stately Symphony Hall. So, what do you think happened as Mr. Bell played on the subway platform? As you might guess, many people simply walked by without acknowledging the performance. Seven people stopped to listen, and of these, only one recognized Bell.

All but one commuter failed to notice the amazing free gift, the performance going on right in front of them.

Now, imagine you had been that one person. What would you have done?

  • Perhaps you would have shouted for joy, telling everyone around, “Stop what you are doing! This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!”
  • Perhaps you would have pulled out your cell phone and started the video record feature to capture the moment to share with others.
  • Perhaps you would have run up the stairs and into the streets to tell everyone what was happening and invite them to join you on the subway platform.

Jesus’ journey to the cross proceeded just as inconspicuously as Joshua Bell’s subway concert. Our Lord did not step from heaven into a lavish palace here on earth. Rather, as God had planned from the very beginning, Jesus’ journey to the cross took him first to a lowly manger in Bethlehem.

Creation’s king was born into the most unlikely set of circumstances: born to a virgin named Mary, greeted by a symphony of bleating sheep and the braying of donkeys, crowned only with the stray pieces of straw that happened to festoon his head. Like a world-renowned musician playing to nobody in a subway, Jesus began his earthly journey to the cross in a manger in Bethlehem with almost nobody noticing. Almost nobody.

As you know, a few people did recognize Jesus. Shepherds took notice of what was happening in Bethlehem’s most important manger. The shepherds noticed, because angels came from heaven to tell them what had taken place. The shepherds went—probably running—to see the Christ Child. Luke, in fact, tells us that the shepherds rushed to the stable: They went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger (Luke 2:16 ESV).

From there, the shepherds went back to their sheep. They returned with joy in their hearts and good news on their lips. Luke tells us, When they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child (Luke 2:17 ESV). Anyone awake at that hour heard those shepherds proclaiming the good news: The Savior’s journey had begun!

The good news did not stop there. It continued on its way throughout the region and beyond. Luke tells us, All who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them (Luke 2:18 ESV). Those people, no doubt, told others. And on it went.

Thirty years later, Jesus went about the countryside teaching and healing. The good news of God’s promised salvation spread still farther. Everywhere Jesus went, the good news went with him. Whenever the disciples invited others to hear, to repent, and to believe, the good news spread. After the Savior died and rose again, the good news of forgiveness in the cross of Christ spread still farther. And it spread. And it spread.

It has gone on spreading in all the centuries since, until you and I today are hearing the good news of Jesus’ journey to the cross. What began with some shepherds in a stable halfway around the world has come to us! And from us, the good news of Jesus will continue to spread. That Gospel message of forgiveness and peace keeps on touching deeper and deeper places in our lives and hearts. The Gospel of Jesus Christ spreads to cover and cleanse all our sins. His mercy pours into our brokenness and makes us new, whole again! God’s grace floods the valleys of our sadness. His peace flows like a river into every nook and cranny of our being, bringing new life.

As you leave this place, you are like that one person who recognized a world-class musician playing away in a subway station. You will leave this place with joy in your hearts and good news on your lips. You can leave today, knowing that God’s mercy and peace, forgiveness and grace have come to you. Jesus’ journey to the cross has made that possible for you—for you personally! Like the shepherds, you can share that good news! Let your Savior’s journey to the cross continue to transform your heart, your life, your family, and your community.

 

 © 2016 CTA, Inc. Used with permission.