Check back here daily for our featured devotions!
We pray they are a blessing to you and your family.

Seeing others as God does ~ 6-12

Families are like fudge—mostly sweet with a few nuts. — Author Unknown

Leave it to brothers and sisters to bring on plenty of embarrassment. When our daughter Annika was in middle school, her older brother would yell out of the van shortly after she was dropped off at school, “I love you Annika, and Jesus does, too!” He was trying to embarrass her, and, each morning, it worked.

God’s family is no different—partly because we are all so different, partly because we really pull some swift ones sometimes… legit mess-ups that give plenty of reason to hang our heads and walk away in shame. Yeah, families can be embarrassing, but only if we look at each other from an earthly perspective. When we see ourselves and each other from God’s perspective, it’s totally different.

In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. (Hebrews 2:10-11)

Jesus calls us brothers and sisters, and never for an instant is He embarrassed by us. Is that an act of God’s grace or what? No doubt about it: Every family has its share of nuts and its share of ghosts. God’s family is no different—and God never hid that fact throughout Scripture. The requirement for belonging has never been our performance. We have been perfected through His suffering; we are holy because of who we are in Him.

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’

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The kiss of the family of God ~ 6-11

Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves. — Albert Einstein

If a picture is worth a thousand words, I’d say a kiss is worth at least ten thousand. But even then, can words do it justice? In his book Your God is Too Safe, Mark Buchanan attempts an objective description of the kiss:

“Two people press their moist, creased, facial orifices together; cinch tight the sphincter muscles that draw the flesh around the orifice together into a bulbous mound, and exchange saliva and breath.”

Hmmm. That doesn’t describe the smooches I exchange with my wife. The fact is, sometimes you have to experience something to understand it. This is true with kisses… and it’s also true with the family of God.

An important element of our identity in Christ is our integration into the family of God, as Paul assumes in Colossians 1:1-2:

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To God’s holy people in Colossae, the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ: Grace and peace to you from God our Father.

“Brothers and sisters” is translated from the Greek word adelphos (which literally means “a male sibling with at least one parent in common”). In context, it clearly means “God’s holy people”—those of us who have become brothers and sisters in Christ, and as they say, “You can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family.” Whether intimate or estranged, unified or conflicted, we are brothers and sisters in Christ, siblings in the family of God.

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’

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Fighting with the flesh ~ 6-10

All generalizations are false, including this one. — Mark Twain

Of the three enemies of faith (Christian philosophy, paralyzing fear, personal flesh), my personal weak spot is the flesh. That’s not a false generalization! Flesh says, “I can take care of this!” Flesh says, “I don’t need God; I can do it myself.” Flesh says, “Independence from God!” Flesh preaches the antithesis of dependence; it promotes the opposite of the faith that pleases God.

I tend to try to do things on my own. My flesh shows up in areas where I think I have some capabilities, and the drive to win unleashes my flesh to run wild in all its demented glory.
Romans 8:8 says: Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

So even when I “win” in the flesh, I lose. But God isn’t asking, What did you win for Me today? He’s asking, Did you trust Me or not?

Did you hear me? If your goal is to please God, and you’re trying to do it in the flesh, you can’t please Him no matter what you accomplish, no matter what you win. You are not going to reach your goal of pleasing God unless you are doing it out of trust in Him and His presence in you. Bill Gillham says Jesus tells it to us this way:

“Your job is to do the very best you can, trust that I’m doing it through you, and leave the results to Me. If it turns out well, praise Me. If it doesn’t, praise Me anyway, and let Me handle any problems that are created as a result. Your job is to concentrate on your method which is ‘dependency!’”

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’

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The fear foe ~ 6-9

It’s wonderful to climb the liquid mountains of the sky. Behind me and before me is God and I have no fears. — Helen Keller

I once was listening to Neal Anderson. He gave a fabulous example of what fear is really all about—the kind of fear that robs us of faith: “In order for fear to happen, there needs to be something that we’re afraid of that is both present and potent.”

Present. It has to be here, now.

Potent. It has to be a strong threat to something important.

Fear causes us to shrink our faith back into philosophy. It’s the primary reason we choose to not trust God:

  • We’re afraid of what God might ask us to do.
  • We’re afraid of actually doing it.
  • We’re afraid of what people might think if we do it.
  • We’re afraid of letting go of the things that we know we’re going to have to let go to do it.
  • We’re just afraid, so we choose not to trust Him fully.

Listen to this: The Omnipotent One, the Omnipresent One, the Omniscient One, The Omni-Everything One says, “What are you afraid of? I’m more potent than anything that’s come in front of you, and I am always present in you and around you. Besides that, I know about everything and I love you more than you can imagine or understand. TRUST IN ME!”

Lord, my heart’s desire as an individual, as a saint, as a child of God is to walk in moment by moment dependence as You live Your life through me. Jesus, enable me to do just that—enable me to trust You. Even faith is a gift from You, Jesus. Please give me that gift too! So I offer myself to You that I might experience Life in who I really am in union with Christ, the Son of God, and the King of Kings. I pray these things in Jesus’ precious name. Amen!

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’

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Moving beyond Christian philosophy ~ 6-8

Our theology must become our biography. — Tim Hansel

Learning about who we are in Christ is important stuff. Remembering our true identity as forgiven, adopted, children of the King of Kings is essential to experiencing Life as God intended it. A.W. Tozer was big on theology (the study of God) and is famous for saying, “What we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

The problem is that many of us (really all of us), to one degree or another, have reduced our theology into a Christian philosophy rather than letting it grow into the kind of faith that pleases God. Christian philosophy is something that we believe in our minds but it doesn’t make any difference in the way we live. It’s just a theory, it’s a philosophy, it’s a faith-based system, and nothing ever changes.

Faith is the heroic effort of your life. You fling yourself in reckless confidence on God. God has ventured all in Jesus Christ to save us. Now He wants us to venture our all in abandoned confidence in Him … step out of the crowd and bank your faith on the character of God. — Oswald Chambers

How is God specifically leading you to venture your all “in abandoned confidence in Him” today?

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’

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A strange battle you face every day ~ 6-7

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. — Galileo

Living out who we are in Christ, and experiencing who Christ is in us, is a challenge. There are reasons this does not come easily! Every step requires faith, and that faith has some powerful enemies. We battle three things that keep us from trusting God:

  • Christian philosophy
  • Paralyzing fear
  • Personal flesh

Behind each of these “foes of faith” are thoughts and ideas that war with our minds.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

If your desire is to please God, the way you accomplish that is by trusting Him. It is through faith that we bring pleasure to Him. If we wake up today and say, “I’m going to trust Him today, I’m going to trust Him moment by moment,” we can end up in quite a fight! But thank God that we do not fight this battle for the mind alone. Just as He was with the Israelites, He is in you:

The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you, in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)

Mighty Warrior, I praise You for Your presence in me and around me. I proclaim Your victory. In the days ahead, reveal the philosophical, fearful, fleshly enemies that attack my faith, and quiet my heart in Your love. I trust in You to fight this battle. Amen.

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’

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The walk of trust ~ 6-6

Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none. — William Shakespeare

It was a “rug-rat” conversion. I see them all the time. Young adults tend to walk their own way for a season or two, walking independent of God. Then bambino numero uno comes along and the new parents decide it’s time to get their spiritual household together for the sake of the little rug-rat ankle-biter. So be it! Whatever it takes!

Rug-rat conversions have been going on for a long time, certainly as far back as Enoch in Genesis 5:21-22:

When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. After he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked faithfully with God…

In Jude 1:14-15 we see that God used Enoch to reveal a horrific revelation of a future flood. Enoch now had a choice. With doom somewhere over the horizon, he could be overwhelmed by a potent fear of the future OR he could chose to step out and trust God moment by moment. Enoch took the first step of faith. Then he took another. Then he took another…

Enoch walked faithfully with God 300 hundred years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away. (Genesis 5:22-24)

We can draw many life lessons in this historical account. One is the way Enoch “walked with God” in the face of destruction, step by step until the end.

By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: “He could not be found, because God had taken him away.” For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. (Hebrews 11:5)

But don’t let the simplicity of the situation slip by, because “By faith … he was commended as one who pleased God.”

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’

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Are you able or Abel? ~ 6-5

Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. — Corrie Ten Boom

If your kids are driving each other nuts, you can find some comfort in Cain and Abel. They were the first brothers on the planet and waged the first sibling rivalry in the universe. And they were really good at it.

Cain was a farmer. He offered God a sacrifice of fruit and grains. Abel was a shepherd and he gave a sacrifice of blood and fat from the firstborn of his flock. But God rejected Cain’s offering. Why? The Genesis passage doesn’t say why, so Christians have debated this for centuries—almost as long as they have been arguing about the virtues of pews versus chairs.

  • Philo said that Abel’s offering was living and Cain’s was lifeless.
  • Josephus said that God is more pleased with things that grow spontaneously than things that you have to work to produce.

The debate could have been shortened if they had just looked at the book of Hebrews.

By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead. (Hebrews 11:4)

Cain and Abel each must have made critical choices in how they related to God. Abel must have said, “I’m going to trust God; because He is able.” Cain must have said, “I’m able to impress God on my own, because I am able.” Abel chose to trust in God with faith. Cain chose to try to please God because he thought he was able.

So today, are you walking in faith like Abel or are you acting as if you are able?

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’

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Skipping the middle part ~ 6-4

Learning to trust is one of life’s most difficult tasks. — Isaac Watts

Jesus loves the Father and lived His entire earthly life fully dependent on the Spirit who dwelt within Him—and He calls us to do the same. Our love for God should lead to dependency on God. That dependency leads naturally to obedience.

Our love for Him → dependency on Him → obedience to Him.

But we tend to skip that second part. We tend to say, “I love God, thus I must obey!” “I want to please God, so I will obey Him.” We skip the middle part—the dependency, the faith, the trust—and try to do it in our own strength in order to please God rather than by faith in God.

Check out Noah in Hebrews 11:7:

By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

How do we know this guy had faith? We see Noah’s faith because he built a boat. Likewise, our faith leads to action as Christ lives His life through us. The Christian life is not lived on the couch flicking through the channels with a spiritual remote. Christian faith leads to action in the power of Christ through us as we trust in Him.

James put it to us this way:

But someone will say,” You have faith, I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds (2:18).

The bottom line is this: Our identity in Christ is not determined by our deeds. Our identity in Christ is displayed by our deeds.

Our love for Him → dependency on Him → obedience to Him.

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’

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Gambling on God ~ 6-3

Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light. — Helen Keller

When we chose to trust God (rather than try to please God), we enter into the realm of faith—believing in what cannot be seen, yet acting as if we can see it. It’s a gamble!

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. (Hebrews 11:1-2)

Our identity and position in Christ is “unseen” in the physical world. In fact, the world screams out the exact opposite, telling us that we are failures, guilty, and inadequate. It takes real faith to act on God’s proclamation that we are accepted, forgiven, and complete in Christ. It’s putting our lives in His hands, even though we can’t see Him.

By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible. (Hebrews 11:3)

The physical evidence for God’s creation is conclusive, yet it still takes faith for us to believe that God created the universe because we weren’t there to see it happen. But it also takes faith to believe that God has made us new creatures in Christ!

Anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Blaise Pascal, the famous French philosopher, physicist, and mathematician put it this way:

“Belief is a wise wager. Granted that faith cannot be proved, what harm will come to you if you gamble on its truth and it proves false? If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation, that He exists.”

Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’

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