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Your divine protection ~ 3-2

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. — C.S. Lewis

When I was playing basketball in college, we had the opportunity to take a trip to Europe to play some international teams. Our travels took us to Amsterdam. I was completely ignorant to the reputation of the city, and apparently my coach was too because he gave us a night off to “enjoy the city.”

Walking the dark streets with some of my teammates, we happened across the red light district—a clean, legal, organized, and repulsive venue for soliciting prostitutes. I glanced into a large window pane and was mortified to see an almost naked young woman enticing me towards her. It was a recipe for disaster. But in that moment, something inside took control. My eyes reflexively glanced down at the cobblestone street and stayed there. I had memorized 1 Corinthians 10:13 as a child and the Holy Spirit instantly brought that verse to mind:

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

For the benefit of my equally terrified and tantalized teammates, I started to quote the verse. “Eyes down boys!” I shouted. “God will provide a way out.” I looked up and saw a road leading to a quiet residential street. Recognizing it as our “way out,” we sprinted for safety.

We are constantly bombarded with temptation in this world. But God says that He will give us a way out when we need it, and because He is in us, He will walk us through it.

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

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In whose power do you trust? ~ 3-1

God will never put you in a situation that you can’t handle. — Unknown

I hear that saying all the time. Sometimes I automatically nod my head because it just sounds right, like a plaque on your mom’s fridge. It is usually presented as a concise summary of God’s care for us. The problem is, it isn’t true…

We’ve all hit obstacles in our walks that aren’t possible for us to pass. In fact, I’d even say that God puts things in our lives that we can’t take care of on purpose. If we could handle everything on our own, there’d be no need for us to rely on God, and that’s how we were designed to live!

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8)

He is able to empower us.

Because of God’s grace, we are able to do things that we would be unable to do on our own. How does that work? I have no idea! I don’t know how it is that He energizes our thoughts or the molecules in our bodies to allow us to accomplish things and choose things that we couldn’t without His strength. But we know that He does. And when we obey Him and allow Him to work through us, we also experience it.

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

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God’s ability to save ~ 2-28

If you have not chosen the Kingdom of God first, it will in the end make no difference what you have chosen instead. For you have missed the purpose for which you were formed, and you will have forsaken the only thing that satisfies. — William Law

God (merciful as He is) was unwilling to blow Moses out of the water by showing him His glory. But even so, God was willing to show him the effects of His glory. He allowed Moses to see His back, to see the results of His abilities.

God does the thing today. Because He’s almighty, there are certain things that He, and only He, is able to do. We may not be able to understand how or why He does these things—for His ways and His motives are far beyond our own. But as a consequence of the things that we cannot see, there are certain things that we can see that reveal God’s glory to us.

Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. (Hebrews 7:25)

God is able to save us.

At the core of the Gospel is the truth that God is able to find someone who has been lost. He can find them and He can save them. He can do this physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Though we have rebelled and gone our own way, God is able to reverse the consequences of our arrogant, ignorant choices. He is able to save us from the wrath and judgment that we are due because He paid the penalty for those sins Himself when He came to earth as a man and died on the cross in our place.

Yes, He is able… but the choice to reach up and allow Him to do it is yours.

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

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Finding fulfillment in Christ ~ 2-27

Can you leave it all behind? I hope so, because you can’t go back. — Unknown

We often make a distinction between people who believe in God and those who don’t. If someone knows about God, we think that’s better than not knowing about God. But that’s not the distinction the Bible makes. The Bible says that people either believe in the true God or they believe in idols.

Knowledge of God doesn’t change the state of your heart, and it’s the heart that matters the most. It’s in the heart where idols are created. We can touch and see and feel them. We imagine them filling our thirsty souls. They continually lure our passion and faith away from the true Almighty God. Idols can be metal or they can be mental, but there’s a constant temptation to put trust in them rather than in God.

Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one. All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame. Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit nothing? (Isaiah 44:8-10)

God and God alone is Almighty. There’s not a single idol on the face of the earth that we can fully depend on to meet our needs. They simply aren’t able to do so… and so they eventually leave our hearts empty, our expectations broken, and our dreams shattered. Even the idols that appear to be able to sustain us will ultimately crumble at the moment of death, for they’re completely unable to help us beyond the grave.

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

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What are your priorities? ~ 2-26

Cure for an obsession: get another one. — Mason Cooley

Because we aren’t able to fully comprehend God, it can be easy to turn our attentions to more finite things—things we can comprehend on a much more tangible level.

Moses got an intense glimpse of God’s glory on Mount Sinai. He then descended the mountain with supernaturally carved tablets containing the law of the holy and powerful God. It might be safe to say that he was excited to go and tell his people what God had to say.

But what did he find? While he was gone, the Israelites made a large golden calf… and they were worshiping it as if their lives depended upon it!

He said to Aaron, “What did these people do to you, that you led them into such great sin?” “Do not be angry, my lord,” Aaron answered. “You know how prone these people are to evil. They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will go before us…’ So I told them, ‘Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf” (Exodus 32:21-24)

“Make us gods who will go before us.” That’s the essence of idolatry. Idolatry takes place anytime we allow anything to take the place of God as the central, life-giving, almighty force in our lives.

In the Western world, golden calves are pretty much out of vogue, but in their place, we have managed to create a huge list of other things that become our substitutes for God:

  • Girlfriends/boyfriends
  • The body and physical pleasures
  • Careers
  • Knowledge
  • Money
  • Comfort
  • Reputation
  • Security
  • Cars, houses, clothes

The list goes on and on.

These things will stay with us and vie for our ultimate attention for the rest of our lives. However, it’s our choice to give in to these things. Always choose God above all, because He is perfect and will never fail.

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

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Getting a small glimpse of The Divine ~ 2-25

Our real idea of God may lie buried underneath the rubbish of conventional religious notions and may require an intelligent and vigorous search before it is finally unearthed and exposed for what it is. Only after an ordeal of painful self-probing are we likely to discover what we actually believe about God. — A.W. Tozer

Don’t we all wish God would reveal more of Himself? Moses did, too.

The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” (Exodus 33:14, 18)

Moses didn’t know what he was asking. When he asked God to see His glory, it was like asking God to pour the oceans through a thimble. The thimble couldn’t possibly handle it. Neither could we. We couldn’t possibly handle God’s infinite glory with the limited mind we possess. Thankfully, God reveals Himself partially.

And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” (Exodus 33:19-20)

This partial revelation is more than enough for us today! With the Word of God in our minds and the presence of His Spirit in our hearts, we can “see” more than we need to respond appropriately:

  • We respect Him greatly.
  • We revere Him continually.
  • We replace Him with nothing.
Pete Briscoe’s Daily Devotional – ‘Experiencing LIFE Today’

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How to relate knowledge with love ~ 2-24

Dear GOD, I went to this wedding and they kissed right in church. Is that okay? — Neil (age 11)

Yeah, I love kids’ innocent ignorance. Isn’t it so much more refreshing than an adult know-it-all arrogance? In fact, Jesus even said that the young’ns have an edge:

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:15)

We really need to think about this. Yes, we might know more than a kid, but compared to what there is to know about God, we only know about 0.000000036% more than the children who wrote the quotes we smiled at this week. And we must be like them to experience His Kingdom.

We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God. (1 Corinthians 8:1-3)

Belief in God isn’t about how much we know about Him. The only thing we really need to know and understand is that He loves us to the point that He would die for us. That knowledge directly affects the most important part of our faith—the state of our heart, where our love for God originates.

Maybe kids are so quick to believe because they’re just learning about the world and haven’t been calloused like adults whose hearts are toughened by life’s experiences. Regardless of the reason, kids see God in a simple, clean-cut way. Yeah, kids don’t know everything in the world—but God is not of this world anyway!

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

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How Much Does God Know About You? ~ 2-23

Dear GOD, Maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they had their own rooms. It works with my brother. — Larry (9 years old)

There are some really impressive theological terms that describe God’s attributes and abilities. Several of them begin with the prefix omni, which means “all” or “total.”

  • Omnipresent: God is everywhere (Psalm 139:7-12).
  • Omnipotent: God has all power (Jeremiah 32:17, 27).
  • Omniscience: God is all scientific… No, that’s not it—at least not with how the word science is used today. The root of the word science is actually “knowledge,” so this simply means that God knows everything (1 John 3:20).

In Luke 1:37 the angel Gabriel proclaimed, “For no word from God will ever fail.” You’ve probably heard something like this before—but have you ever really thought about it? Anything that He chooses to do that is in accordance with His character, He can do.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

God also knows everything. The problem, of course, is that we can’t grasp the expanse of His might or wisdom. He’s just in a totally different league than we are! He is Father, but He is also farther—farther than our minds can reach.

Food for thought: Why might someone be uncomfortable with the truth that God the Almighty knows everything about him or her? What attributes of God the Father would ease their concerns?

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

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How Great is God’s Glory? ~ 2-22

Dear GOD, I think the stapler is one of your greatest inventions. — Ruth (6 years old)

When we last left Moses, he had asked God to describe Himself so that he would know who it was that was “going with him” as they made the trek to the Promised Land. God had revealed at least 14 attributes about His character. But then Moses pushes a little bit further:

Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” (Exodus 33:18)

God said “no” to this request—and for good reason. Moses was asking if he could step beyond the boundaries of human understanding and know God in ways that are truly unknowable. God held back. He knew that if His glory was fully exposed, it would blow Moses’ mind into a million pieces. His soul would not be able to absorb it. His body would not be able to tolerate it. To see God in all His glory would end him.

When we use the word Almighty, we’re standing on holy ground, on the edge of the infinite, at the pinnacle of something that is not just wonderful and awesome, but even dangerous.

So, while we might be able to see God as a “father,” we must also, in humility and wisdom, recognize that God is also “farther,” He is beyond our comprehension. There are critical aspects of God that we have no ability to understand or embrace. Power, wisdom, and awesomeness echo from God being farther, much farther, than our ability to understand or experience.

Yes, we can know about God. We can even know Him in a personal way. But in other ways, He is completely unknowable… infinitely beyond our comprehension.

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

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A Small Picture of God’s Power ~ 2-21

Dear GOD, I bet it is very hard for You to love all of everybody in the whole world. There are only four people in our family and I can never do it. — Nan (age 7)

There are two sides to God’s coin. On one side is the word Father. We can relate to the father thing because of our earthly fathers. But the other side of the coin says Almighty. There are definitely people on earth who have a lot of might, but none of them have all might. We have no comparisons when we talk about God being “Almighty,” so we humans have concocted a variety of different words and metaphors to try to describe this aspect of God:

sov.er.eign n. One that exercises supreme, permanent authority, especially in a nation or other governmental unit, as a king, queen, or other noble person who serves as chief of state; a ruler or monarch.

tran.scend.ent adj. 1. Surpassing others; preeminent or supreme. 2. Lying beyond the ordinary range of perception. 3. Being beyond the limits of experience and hence unknowable. 4. Being above and independent of the material universe.

Words like this might help describe Him, but all words, no matter how descriptive, fall short of the fact that He is truly indescribable. We’ve discussed what it means to believe, what it means to have God as a perfect Father, but what can we say when we discuss Him as all powerful?

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

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