Hebrews 13:5 is one of my favorite bible verses. It’s one of the first ones I read after I’d truly been saved, and it’s God’s promise to us. He will never leave us or forsake us, so when we feel like He has, we need to just remember this verse. God doesn’t lie. His Word doesn’t lie. He said this, so we can trust it as truth. We’re to trust Him by faith—not by sight or feelings. Just because we can’t always feel Him there doesn’t mean that He isn’t. What a great comfort!
5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.
Hebrews 13:5-9 KJV
MARCH 17, 2021
In troubled times we may begin to think that God doesn’t care or has forsaken us, but that’s not true. If we’ve trusted Christ as our Savior, He promises never to desert or abandon us (Heb. 13:5). No matter how we may feel, God is always with us.
As great as this promise is, we have yet another foundational truth on which to rely. We can fully trust whatever our Savior says because “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8). He doesn’t save us one day and then abandon us later. Jesus said, “Everything the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out” (John 6:37). He affirmed this same truth, saying that no one can snatch us out of His or the Father’s hands (John 10:28-29).
If we think that the Lord has suddenly abandoned us, we are walking by sight and not by faith. The reality is that we are the ones wavering, but Jesus and His promises have not changed. He is present, providing for our needs, and working for our good in every situation.
Sanctification is a lifelong process throughout which the Holy Spirit molds us more into the image of Christ. In order for the Holy Spirit to do this, we must keep Jesus Christ and what He did for us at the Cross of Calvary as the object of our faith. Only then can the Holy Spirit work within our lives and hearts to sanctify us.
11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
Romans 13:11-14 KJV
Put on the Lord Jesus MARCH 11, 2021 THURSDAY
Modern culture encourages doing whatever comes naturally, but that approach leads only to self-centered, sinful living. In contrast, we as believers are told to make no provision for our natural or fleshly desires. This means we don’t place ourselves in the path of temptation or consider going back to the old sinful longings, attitudes, and habits that were ours before we knew the Lord.
When I was a young Christian, I heard talk about sanctification and “doing away with sin.” I mistakenly thought that when I was older, I’d have some kind of spiritual experience that would rid my life of wrong desires and thoughts. But that’s not how sanctification works. Instead, it’s a lifelong process in which God’s Spirit progressively transforms us into Christ’s image.
Even after three years in Jesus’ company, the disciples couldn’t live the Christian life on their own. They had to wait for the indwelling Holy Spirit, who gave them strength, guidance, and wisdom. That has not changed—it remains true that apart from Christ’s Spirit, we cannot overcome fleshly desires and live in obedience to God’s will. But when we rely on Him instead of ourselves, He produces godly desires within us, empowers obedience, and transforms our character into Christ’s likeness.
This is definitely one of the things that I think many of us struggle with. When life gets us down, we begin to doubt our salvation. I think this is one of Satan’s greatest weapons against Christians. He whispers we’re not good enough into our ears or we’re just deceiving ourselves and we’re not really saved. All you have to do to be saved, though, is to truly believe in your heart that Jesus is the son of God, that He died on the Cross for our sins, and that He was raised from the dead. You must also confess these truths with your mouth. Then, it’s important that we keep our faith in Jesus Christ and what He did for us so we can be assured our faith is true. When we focus on Christ and Cross, the Holy Spirit will be able to work within our lives to help us follow in Christ’s footsteps.
5 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.
7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.
10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
1 John 5:1-13
MARCH 09, 2021 TUESDAY
Many Christians struggle with doubts about their salvation. As they look at their failures, they question whether they’re truly saved. The apostle John wrote his first epistle to assure believers of their eternal security. Throughout the book, he gives three tests by which professing believers can evaluate themselves to see if they are truly in the faith.
1. The Word Test. Genuine Christians believe what Scripture says about Christ—that He is God’s Son, who came in the flesh to die for mankind’s sins.
2. The Witness Test. The Holy Spirit indwells true believers. They experience His transforming work, and He gives them a deep, abiding conviction that they belong to Christ.
3. The Walk Test. Christ’s life flows through His followers and will be evident in their words, attitudes, and actions. The sins they once loved are now repulsive to them, and obedience to Christ is the new direction of their life.
While we can’t be 100 percent certain about the authenticity of anyone else’s faith (Matt. 7:21), God doesn’t want His true children wavering in uncertainty about their own. That’s why John’s first epistle says, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13, emphasis added).
Sanctification is a life-long process. Once we’re saved, if we keep our trust exclusively in Jesus Christ and what He did at the Cross, then we give the Holy Spirit latitude to work within our lives and transform us into the likeness of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
2 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;
3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
Hebrews 2:1-4 KJV
MARCH 06, 2021 SATURDAY
Some churches today avoid using biblical language to describe what it means to be saved, because the terms can be confusing. However, since God chose these words to convey the greatness of our salvation, we should not overlook them. In order to understand grace, it is essential that we grasp the following concepts:
• Redemption refers to Christ’s payment for sin—in other words, His death purchased us for God.
• Regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, in which He gives us divine life and makes us into new creatures.
• Justification is God’s declaration that through our faith in Christ, we are righteous and acquitted of guilt for sin.
• Forgiveness is the removal of our guilt; to accomplish this, Jesus went to the cross in our place and bore our sins (1 Peter 2:24).
• Reconciliation is the restoration of a right relationship with God. No longer His enemies, we’re now His beloved children.
• Sanctification means to be set apart for God. It’s the process by which we grow in holiness and obedience.
The more you understand the depths of your salvation, the greater your awe, gratitude, and love for Jesus will be. So meditate on these truths and the fullness of your salvation, and let them fill your mind and heart today.
I was recently debating with someone about what constitutes sin. The person in question argued that as long as we kept the Ten Commandments, we were righteous and holy. He contended that if he hadn’t broken one of the Ten Commandments in a given day, then he was righteous, holy and sinless before God.
However, if that is the case, then there would have been no need for Jesus Christ to come and die for us on the Cross. If we could do it all on our own, why would we need His sacrifice? Of course, this person also contended that the breaking of the Ten Commandments were the only sins, but that is simply not true.
The Bible makes it very clear that there are many sins outside the Ten Commandments. Unrighteous anger is a sin. Pride is a sin. Jealousy is a sin.
Sins are not simply actions that we commit. They begin in the thoughts and heart of man. Negative, unholy thoughts and emotions are what lead to sinful actions.
None of us are sinless. We can’t do it on our own. That’s why we must accept Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and keep our faith anchored in Him and what He did for us at the Cross if we wish to have victory over sin.
Does this mean we will never sin again? No, but it does mean if we allow the Holy Spirit to work within our lives, He will help us to not sin, and when we do stumble, we have an advocate with the Father.
Granted, this isn’t a license a sin just thinking we can get forgiveness for it later. We should try our best (with the help of the Holy Spirit, for we can’t do it on our own.).
That’s why we need to ask God to search our hearts and reveal any bitterness and sinful emotions or thoughts we have. Then, we must ask Him to remove them and purify us.
1 Samuel 18:5-16
5 And David went out whithersoever Saul sent him, and behaved himself wisely: and Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people, and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.
6 And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick.
7 And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.
8 And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom?
9 And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.
10 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied in the midst of the house: and David played with his hand, as at other times: and there was a javelin in Saul’s hand.
11 And Saul cast the javelin; for he said, I will smite David even to the wall with it. And David avoided out of his presence twice.
12 And Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him, and was departed from Saul.
13 Therefore Saul removed him from him, and made him his captain over a thousand; and he went out and came in before the people.
14 And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the Lord was with him.
15 Wherefore when Saul saw that he behaved himself very wisely, he was afraid of him.
16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he went out and came in before them.
MARCH 03, 2021 WEDNESDAY
Jealousy is an emotion of displeasure over someone else’s good fortune. Constantly comparing ourselves to others leads to discontent, resentment, and bitterness. If these negative emotions remain unchecked, they can poison our relationships. What’s more, they can eventually flare into suspicion, anger, and hostility.
This is what happened to King Saul. His jealousy caused him to distrust David, who had served him faithfully. Saul’s suspicious attitude led to hostility and irrational behavior—so much so that he hurled a spear at David while the young man was playing music (1 Samuel 18:10-12). Instead of being grateful for David’s loyalty and steadfast service, the king repaid him with animosity and death threats. As a result, David was eventually forced to flee and hide in the wilderness (1 Samuel 23:15-26).
Jealousy is not something to be excused or rationalized. Ask the Lord to examine your heart and show you if any of these symptoms of jealousy are present in your life. If they are, confess them as sin and ask Him to uproot them from your heart. Then focus on God’s faithfulness instead of comparing yourself with others.
We ought to obey God rather than men. In this country, we are fortunate enough to have the freedom to worship God without fear of repercussions. That’s not the case everywhere. Some people literally risk their lives to read the Bible or worship God. How often we take our great freedom for granted. Still, when we do obey God, sometimes we’re ridiculed, scoffed or mocked, but we should obey Him anyway. We should always stand up for God, for he certainly stood up for us when He sent his son, Jesus Christ, to bear the penalty for our sins on the Cross.
17 Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,
18 And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.
19 But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said,
20 Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.
21 And when they heard that, they entered into the temple early in the morning, and taught. But the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council together, and all the senate of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.
22 But when the officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned and told,
23 Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within.
24 Now when the high priest and the captain of the temple and the chief priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow.
25 Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the temple, and teaching the people.
26 Then went the captain with the officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned.
27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them,
28 Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.
29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
33 When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.
34 Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;
35 And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.
36 For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought.
37 After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.
38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:
39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.
40 And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.
41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
FEBRUARY 23, 2021 TUESDAY 23
Yesterday, we studied passionate obedience and how it develops over time. The apostles reached the pinnacle of submission. Without being compelled by fear or the hope of reward, they faced shame, pain, and death. Why? Because they loved Christ too much to stay quiet.
People who receive salvation and then sit back, content that they’ll go to heaven when they die, have missed the point. Salvation isn’t just about heaven; it also allows us to be used for God’s glory here on earth. He lives through us, expressing His life-changing truth so that we can impact others. The only hindrance is the restriction we set on our own usefulness.
Limitations and passionate obedience can’t coexist. Life might seem easier if we choose when to obey God, but that type of existence won’t ever prove totally satisfying. Instead, we will tend to wonder why the Lord doesn’t use us or bless us more.
Passionate obedience begins with commitment. Our dedication may at first be based on the promised reward, which is acceptable because blessing is part of obedience. But as we mature, we’re likely to experience increasingly difficult challenges relative to our submission. And then our devotion also grows until we, too, can rejoice when we suffer for Jesus’ name.
Do you have a passion to obey God? If we truly love God, we should try our best to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. However, part of spiritual maturity comes when we start wanting to follow Him in a loving response to His love and grace rather than simply because we know we should or because of fear of the repercussions of not doing so. At the beginning of our salvation, we might be more prompted to obey God for fear of consequences, but as we learn more about God, we’ll begin to want to obey Him out of love for Him and because we’ll begin to see that He truly knows best and that He will never fail us. The most important thing is to put all our trust and faith in Him so that we’ll be willing to follow wherever He may lead.
16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
FEBRUARY 22, 2021 MONDAY
A passion to obey God doesn’t come naturally. Salvation may spark love and a desire to please Him, but a passionate fire is built slowly from the timbers of spiritual knowledge, faith, and devotion.
Obedience usually begins with a fear of the consequences of disobeying. That is, newer believers can at least enjoy the safety of avoiding repercussions until they develop better reasons to follow God. Thankfully, as we mature and build a scriptural foundation, fear is replaced by both recognition of God’s sovereignty and submission to His wisdom.
Over time, following the Lord becomes less about consequences for disobeying and more about blessings for obeying. Once we taste His goodness, we learn that obedience and God’s best are natural partners—good derives from following divine commands, while suffering results when we demand our own way. This irrevocable principle plays out in the Bible as well as in day-to-day life, and the more we observe it, the more we realize the Lord’s will is the wisest choice.
All the promised blessings in the world cannot make a believer follow God into some frightening places. But that’s where love for our Father comes in, as it compels us toward obedience no matter what is at stake.
The way to truly be free is to surrender everything to Christ. That can be difficult to do. Sometimes, we may think we’ve surrendered it all, but we really haven’t. Maybe we’re holding on to some worry or trying to control some aspect of our lives ourselves. Only when we turn EVERYTHING over to God and trust Him to take care of all of it can we experience the true freedom that comes from following Jesus Christ.
FEBRUARY 07, 2021 SUNDAY
When Jesus preached in the temple, He said, “If the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). The people listening that day had a difficult time understanding that He was talking about Himself. But it’s no wonder Jesus’ listeners were confused. He hadn’t yet died on the cross and risen from the grave. Yet here’s the unfortunate truth: Sometimes we’re just as confused, even though we know how the story ends.
It’s easy to forget God’s promise of abundant life in Him—a life liberated by His love—and to continue making choices that enslave us to sin. And at times these choices can have longstanding effects. The good news is that God’s offer of freedom is always available to us, no matter how far we stray. We simply need to stop and turn once again in His direction. Repentance is always the path to greater freedom.
THINK ABOUT IT
• What would turning once again in Jesus’ direction look like right now in your life? Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal anything that’s getting in the way of your freedom in Christ. Whatever He shows you, confess it and ask Him to help you walk in repentance.
So many Christians think they have to do something after they’ve been saved. They have to keep improving upon themselves. While it’s great to serve the Lord (and we should do good works), we must be careful that we don’t get into a “works” frame of mind, thinking that our works somehow make us better or warrant us anything. We must always realize that we cannot improve ourselves of ourselves. It is only by allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us that we can grow in the spirit.
3 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.
5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
FEBRUARY 02, 2021 TUESDAY
Many years ago I learned a valuable lesson from a missionary who had spent 40 years in China. I told her about a struggle I was having, and I’ve never forgotten her reply. She said, “Charles, you won’t ever be any better than you are, but the Holy Spirit who lives inside you will enable you. You can’t improve your flesh.”
Until then, I’d always thought that if I worked hard enough, I would be a better person. It was an eye-opener to realize that our heavenly Father does not want or need our self-efforts. They can neither earn us salvation nor enable us to live the Christian life. In his letter to the Galatians, the apostle Paul said basically the same thing when he wrote, “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3).
In our own strength, we are unable to do anything of eternal value. To become the person God wants us to be and to accomplish His will in our life, we must totally rely upon His Spirit. But it’s important to remember that dependence is not inaction. Paul described it this way: “I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me” (Col. 1:29). Depending fully on the Holy Spirit is how our Father wants us to serve Him.