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

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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Trusting God in the small stuff ~ 6-2

Few delights can equal the presence of the one whom we trust utterly. — George MacDonald

Life is filled with little burdens—lots of them. You know, the details of life like bills and carpools and in-laws (not my in-laws, of course). The flesh tells me that God is pleased when I carry the load, that He will help me when I help myself—particularly on the trivial, little stuff.

Sure, I know I can trust God to carry the burden on the things that are beyond my ability—like getting me to Heaven or curing a child’s cancer… or getting me out of a speeding ticket (ahem). But why should I bother Him with the small stuff when He has all these wars and earthquakes to deal with when I can deal with it myself? Another good question. Why exercise faith and trust Him in the little things?

Because God evaluates “success” differently than we do. We measure “success” based on what the flesh can produce, whereas God measures success based on the degree of trust we show.

Choosing to do things myself is called independence—the exact opposite of moment-by-moment dependence that brings intimacy with God through trusting Him.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Walking in the Spirit is how we have been designed to live as followers of Christ—every day, every moment, through every burden, large or small. This intimate dependency is part of our new identity in Christ!

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

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The road less traveled ~ 6-1

Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. — Robert Frost

Bruce McNicol’s book, TrueFaced, brought me face to face with a paradoxical, perplexing dilemma—a question that all of us must answer: Am I trying to live a life that is pleasing God, or am I trusting God?

It really came down to trust, faith, and whom I was placing my trust in.

  1. I can choose to trust myself and my own efforts to earn God’s pleasure.
  2. I can choose to trust in Christ, living His life through me, to enable me to live a life that is pleasing to God.

Trusting God means a life of faith. It is a life of deepening intimacy and moment-by-moment surrender and dependency. Amazingly and paradoxically, this road of trusting God is the one that actually leads to pleasing God!

Consider Hebrews 11:5-6:

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. And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

That’s the twist that brings it all together. “Pleasing God” and “trusting God” are not mutually exclusive after all!

Do I choose to “please God” or will I “trust God?” The choice is yours, of course. Moment by moment, day by day until this one life is over, you must choose your path. Just know this: The road of trust leads to both. The road of attempting to please God leads to neither. Choose wisely.

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

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Are you pleasing God or trusting God? ~ 5-31

You are doomed to make choices. This is life’s greatest paradox. — Wayne Dyer

The problem with questions is that sometimes they lead to more questions. That’s where I found myself while reading Bruce McNicol’s book, TrueFaced. I do a lot of reading, but his questions stopped me in my tracks:

Am I trying to please God, or am I trusting God?

Quite frankly, I didn’t like the idea of having to choose between these two. So I connected with my friend, Dr. Ramesh Richard from Dallas Seminary. “Ramesh, have you read through TrueFaced? (Of course, he’d read it; he’s read everything.) I asked him what he thought. He said, “You know I really like the concept. I would probably word it a little differently, but I think Bruce’s wording is completely clear and accurate.” Rats. I was still on the hook to figure this thing out. The question seemed to be boiling down to this:

  1. I can choose to trust in myself, and in my own efforts in order to earn God’s pleasure.
  2. I can choose to trust in Christ, allowing Him to live His life through me, to enable me to live a life that is pleasing to God.

At first, it seemed like a very subtle difference. Maybe this was all just a little word game? But the more I thought about it, the more the significance of this choice impacted me.

  • The question revealed what I believed about my own abilities outside of Christ.
  • The question revealed my true beliefs about God’s grace and mercy.
  • The question revealed a lot about the natural tendency all humans have towards self-righteousness.
  • The question revealed what I believed about God, and how I thought He saw me in Christ.

How would I answer the question? How would you answer the question?

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts
.

See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
 (Psalm 139:23-24)

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

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How to NOT serve God ~ 5-29

God’s commands are designed to guide you to life’s very best. You will not obey Him, if you do not believe Him and trust Him. You cannot believe Him if you do not love Him. You cannot love Him unless you know Him. — Henry Blackaby

Do you tend to serve because you are afraid God will reject you if you don’t? Do you serve because a preacher stands at a pulpit and makes you feel inferior if you don’t? I hope not, because that will end badly.

Service by guilt is decidedly not the best way to go. Guilt-induced obedience, tradition-based ritual… it’s all just an empty shadow of how we have been designed to live in Christ. It’s just generally a bad idea to serve for any other reason than being filled with love.

For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:6)

I’d suggest you take a little inventory here. What’s your true motivation? Pleasing people, insecurity, fear, guilt, tradition, obligation… within all our hearts lurk false and destructive motives. Ask God to reveal them to you.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24)

One motive is pure. One motive will keep you from burning out when the task is huge. One motive will keep you from condemnation when you fail. One motive will keep you from self-righteousness when you succeed. That pure motive is the love of God itself—the source of all true worship and service. That launches “The Threefold Interlock” life of faith:

  1. We love God.
  2. That love for God leads to dependency on God.
  3. Dependency on God results in obedience to God.
Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’

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God’s love move you ~ 5-28

It is for each of us freely to choose whom we shall serve, and find in that obedience our freedom. — Mary Richards

As eager as we can be to obey God, leaping in too quickly is also a problem. In modern evangelism, we can occasionally skip over love and empowerment—the necessary first two steps—and dive right into action. Without the motive of love or the power of dependence on Christ, we blast away and cause damage.

Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. (2 Corinthians 9:13)

You can see what obedience done right looks like: Others will see it and praise God. Apart from a heart that is truly learning to love God, we will have no motivation for obedience other than the abject fear of punishment. A lack of understanding of love and dependency always leads to legalism.

Is obedience important? Yes! Do we produce it out of the flesh? No! Our love for Him, yielded to Him as He lives within us, is where we should find ourselves walking in obedience.

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

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