Category Archives: Devotionals

Lies about Success

The most overlooked part of the parable of the talents is the second half of verse fifteen: the master gives talents to each servant, “…each according to his ability.” The master understood that the one-talent servant was not capable of producing as much as the five-talent servant.

We want to protest this as unfair. Yet we know this is true from our own experience. Diversity is woven into the fabric of creation.

However, culture tells us two great lies about success: you can be whatever you want to be, and you can be the best in the world. These lies are based on the premise that we all are created equal. While we are all certainly equal under the law, equal in God’s eyes, and equal in many other areas, we are not created equal where our abilities are concerned.

Not everyone can grow up to be president or a brain surgeon. Yet, if you say this in many circles you will be quickly chastised and informed that we all have the same potential if we just try hard enough.

But even though we’re not created equal in regard to the talents we’re given, there is equality found in the parable of the talents. It comes from the fact that it takes just as much work for the five-talent servant to produce five more talents as it does for the two-talent servant to produce two more talents.

This is why the reward given by the master is the same. The master measures success by degrees of effort, as should we.

Like the servants in the parable of the talents, God has given each of us unique resources and talents to be used in everything we do, especially our vocational callings. The master gave out a different number of talents to each servant “according to the servant’s ability.” The one talent servant was not expected to produce five talents.

Biblical success is faithfully using all gifts, talents, and opportunities God has given us for the furtherance of his kingdom here on earth. This work should bring us both joy and peace of mind knowing we have done our best, through the power of Christ working though us, to accomplish what he has called us to do in order to make a difference in our world.

As Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:10,

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

We are given different gifts. We can’t be anything we want to be, but we can be everything God uniquely created us to be.

Consider spending some time in prayer and with trusted friends or family members to consider what unique gifts the Lord is calling you to use for him.

Called to Work While We Wait

Matt 25: 14-30, psalm 8

Some Christians believe that our salvation is a bus ticket to heaven, and what we do while we wait for the bus makes little difference. The parable of the talents makes it clear this belief is false. Instead, like the servants in the parable, we will be held accountable for our stewardship of our lives while we wait for Christ’s return.

Christians who limit stewardship to tithing or even understand stewardship as the godly management of their time, talent, and treasure are still missing something. We have lost the idea of “whole-life stewardship” taught in the Scriptures. Kent Wilson of the Acton Institute suggests a more complete definition of stewardship, describing it as,

…the faithful and efficient management of property or resources belonging to another in order to achieve the owner’s objectives.

Note the last phrase, “in order to achieve the owner’s objectives.” We must know God’s objectives in order to achieve them. To know what those objectives are, we must go back to the Garden of Eden.

Moses divides the creation story into two stages within the first chapter of Genesis. In the first stage, God creates something out of nothing (Genesis 1:1-2). In the second stage, the six days of creation, God forms and fills what he has created.

  • Days 1-3, God forms the heavens and the earth.
  • Days 4-6, he fills the heavens and the earth with inhabitants.
  • Then on the seventh day God rests from his work.

At the end of each of the first five days, God looks at his handiwork and announces that it is good. But at the end of his work of creation, at the end of the sixth day, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).

Here we find the first hint of God’s original intent for his creation. The purpose of God was to be glorified by his creation. This is why God describes it as “very good.” As a great painting reflects the glory of the master artist, God created everything for his glory, including man, the crown jewel of creation.

Does this mean that God created the world so that he could become more glorious in himself? No. God created the world and everything in it to display his glory, that it might be known and praised by creation (Psalm 8). To be effective stewards of all that God has given us, we must achieve the owner’s original objective — to bring glory to himself.

Spend a few moments meditating on Psalm 8 and the marvelous glory of our majestic Lord.

What is God’s purpose for my life pt3

God’s Plans – Gen 12:1, 1Cor 9, James 1:17

God’s greatest desire is for Him to be glorified through your relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. Your purpose and destiny will unfold as you turn to God daily through prayer, study, worship, and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

One of the best ways to know God’s specific purpose for your daily life is to read about Him and what He has to say. Because God’s Word holds countless layers of insight and meaning, it never grows stale. He will speak to you by bringing certain words, phrases, or verses to your attention. The more you grow in your relationship with Him, the more insights you will have into His character and how He operates.

Another part of understanding your daily destiny is to live in a righteous and biblical manner where God has placed you, and to do so consistently.

A third opportunity to understand your purpose is to realize that every Christian is called to an active ministry. That doesn’t mean we will all be full-time preachers or missionaries. But with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you are to share the gospel through your words and conduct. 

What is God’s purpose for my life pt2

God’s Goal – Acts 1:18

God’s goal in creating the world is to bring glory and honor to Himself. He does this by seeing the truth about himself spread around the world through us. Then how can we bring our life into alignment with that goal?

It’s easy for us to fall into a version of Christianity that believes His will is for us to always be happy and get what we want. We have a picture of what we want our lives to be. The perfect job, 6-pack abs, ideal relationships with no drama, and all the money we could ever need. We so easily start believing that God’s job is to make our dreams become His reality. This is not biblical and in fact a cheap version of what He wants for us and is often drive by our self- centeredness. Ultimately, if we strive towards this cheap version of our life then that picture becomes the highest object of our devotion.

God exists to bring glory to Himself. If He didn’t, then who or what would He bring glory to? If it’s not Himself, if His purpose is to glorify our picture of our life, then that picture becomes elevated above Himself. Do you see how out of alignment that is? The purpose of our lives… the deepest place where we find meaning and satisfaction… transcends any relationship, job, or circumstance.

All through Scripture there are stories of how He took the shadiest of characters and most difficult of circumstances and made them powerful in His plan. The purpose of our lives is to point to Him no matter where we are, what we are doing, or whom we are with. That is in perfect alignment with His purpose.

What is Gods purpose for my life pt1

God’s Purpose for Himself – Isaiah 43:7 The journey to discovering our purpose is to begin by asking what is God’s purpose. What is God’s goal in creating and governing the world? Why does He exist and what is His reason for being? If we are seeking to follow Him it is important to know where He is going. If we don’t know His goal and our lives are not in alignment with it, then we will find ourselves in conflict with God and excluded from fellowship with Him. However, on the other hand, nothing inspires love, joy, and peace for daily living like knowing you are in harmony with God and His purpose for Himself. Adam and Eve chose to eat from the forbidden tree in order to be like God and independent of Him, the human race has been enslaved to a rebellious heart that hates to rely on God but loves to make a name for itself. We were created from the beginning in God’s image that He might show forth God’s glory. His plan is to multiply and fill the earth so that the knowledge of the glory of God would cover the whole world. However, ever since the fall of man into sin, people have refused to align themselves with this divine goal. God exists to bring glory to Himself so that all of His creation may know Him. 

Where Is God Already Moving?

Luke 24:28 1Peter 4:10

God is already moving in our lives and around the world. He’s already working out His plans for you. But only He can show you how He is really working. In hectic days and weeks, it can sometimes be hard to listen and watch in prayer to see how God is already moving. If we miss how God is moving today, how can we expect to see where He will move tomorrow?


In Luke 24, on the road to Emmaus, Jesus explains God’s plan to two men who were not able to recognize him. It was only when their eyes were open that they recognized Jesus and fully understood his plan. How humbling to think that they could walk next to Jesus and be kept from knowing him! We must remember that it is God who opens the eyes of our heart.

Holloway devotional day 1. How to ruin your Children in seven simple steps.

The power of acceptance – Matt 6: 25-34
The best way to avoid ruining your child with envy is to deal with envy in yourself. And the critical step in that battle may be to accept the way God designed you. As Pastor Andy Stanley says, acceptance fuels influence. You can’t influence your kids if you can’t accept them, and you can’t fully accept others until you have accepted yourself.

After all those years of being called Bugs Bunny, I finally got my teeth fixed. But every time I smile I am reminded of the self-rejection I felt as a boy. Instead of reliving the pain, though, I choose to use it as a reminder of how much God loves and accepts me, even with my self-proclaimed imperfections. And I try to use it as a reminder to be sensitive toward the self-rejection others may be feeling, motivating me to share God’s love and grace with them.
So I’m grateful for crooked teeth. I guess you could say my being a Bugs Bunny look-alike taught me how to overcome envy.

What about you? Are you grateful for the “crooked teeth” in your life, or are they driving you to envy others? I’ve named some of the crazy things people are driven to do when they don’t feel worthy or adequate, and maybe you recognized yourself in that list. Maybe you know it’s time to deal with the root of self-rejection that is driving your life down the path of envy and threatening to destroy your children with you.

Here’s what I want you to do: make a list of your unchangeable features, the facts about how God designed you. Your parents, brothers, sisters, physical appearance, ethnic background, aptitudes, abilities, skills, talents, and educational opportunities. Can you look at yourself in the mirror and agree with God that His creation is “very good”?
Next add to your list the scars that have come into your life. Things people did that caused you hurt or shame. Now take some time to reflect on God’s greatness and God’s goodness.

*Do you really believe God is love? Do you believe you have a wise, sovereign, all-powerful Creator? Do you believe God “causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”?

May 2015

The Privilege of Assurance

And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. 1 John 3:19.
I would impress upon our young men and young women the necessity of making their calling and election sure. I would beseech you to do no haphazard or uncertain work where your eternal interests are involved. By so doing you lose happiness, peace, comfort, and hope in this life, and you lose also your immortal inheritance.

My young friends, you are judgment bound, and through the grace of Christ you may render obedience to the commands of God, and daily gain fortitude and strength of character, so that you need not fail or be discouraged. Divine grace has been abundantly provided for every soul, so that each one may engage in the conflict and come off victorious. Do not become sluggish; do not flatter yourselves that you may be saved in walking in accordance with the natural traits of your character—that you may drift with the current of the world, and indulge and please self, and yet be able to withstand the forces of evil in a time of crisis, and come off victorious when the battle waxes hot…. You must learn every day to obey the orders of the Captain of the Lord’s host.

My young friends, do you pray? Are you educating yourselves to offer petitions for pure thoughts, for holy aspirations, for a pure heart and clean hands? Are you educating your lips to sing the praises of God, and are you seeking to do the will of God? This is the kind of education that will be of the greatest value to you; for it will aid you in the formation of Christlike character.

Do not settle down in Satan’s easy chair, and say that there is no use, you cannot cease to sin, that there is no power in you to overcome. There is no power in you apart from Christ, but it is your privilege to have Christ abiding in your heart by faith, and He can overcome sin in you, when you cooperate with His efforts…. You may be living epistles, known and read of all men. You are not to be a dead letter, but a living one, testifying to the world that Jesus is able to save.

April 2015

Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God. 
– Psalms 119:115

All classes, however fallen, however sin-stained, have the law of God as their guide, and his word as their instructor. They may be sanctified through the truth, and received as sons and daughters of the Most High. But “the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Rom. 8:7. The multitudes do not love righteousness, and they are building on the sand. 

Many who profess Christ do not love the law of God. If they dared, they would speak out their enmity against it in no mild terms. They have a surface religion, and that is all they desire. Some are deceptive and untrustworthy in deal, and will break pledges and contracts. Covetousness, intemperance, and impurity abound, and money is squandered for tobacco and other similar indulgences. 

There are many who attend church, and hear the truth spoken; they see the claims of God; but they have some pet indulgence which they will not give up,–something which prevents them from judging candidly and wisely between the things of time and those of eternity. It makes little difference what this is, so long as it separates the soul from God. 

But God is not to be trifled with. We can make no selfish bargain with him; we can cling to no sin if we would retain his favor. Those who are building on the Rock Christ Jesus, will follow none of the pernicious practises of the worldly or of world-loving church-members, but will search the Bible for themselves. God has given men reasoning powers for this purpose, that they may weigh evidence, and decide what is truth. No man’s assertions can be taken on trust. The question is, What does the Lord say? His, “Thou shalt” and, “Thou shalt not,” must be obeyed. 

Thoroughness is necessary to success in the work of character building. There must be an earnest purpose to carry out the plan of the Master Builder. The timbers used must be solid; and no careless, unreliable work can be accepted; it would ruin the building. 

The whole being is to be put into this work. It demands the strength and energy of manhood; there is no reserve to be wasted in unimportant matters. There must be determined human force put into the work, co-operating with the divine. There must be earnest, careful, persevering effort to break away from the customs, maxims, and associations of the world. Deep thought, earnest purpose, steadfast integrity, are essential.

– See more at: http://www.bibleuniverse.com/study-tools/daily-devotional/e/9202#sthash.eFJZvY4y.dpuf

March 2015

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved. 
– Psalms 62:5-6

“Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.” Matt. 7: 24-27

The great work of parents and teachers is character building; it is to seek to restore the image of Christ in those who are placed under their care. A knowledge of the sciences sinks into insignificance beside this great aim; but all true education may be made to help in the development of a righteous character. The formation of character is the work of a lifetime, and it is for eternity. If all could realize this, if they would awaken to the thought that we are individually deciding our own destiny and the destinies of our children for eternal life or eternal ruin, what a change would take place! How differently would this probationary time be occupied, and what different characters would fill our world! 

The question that comes home to each of us is, Upon what foundation am I building? We have the privilege of striving for immortal life; and it is of the greatest importance that we dig deep, removing all the rubbish, and build on the immovable, solid Rock, Christ Jesus. He is the sure foundation. “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” In him alone is our salvation. “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” 

The foundation firmly laid, we need wisdom that we may know how to build. When Moses was about to erect the sanctuary in the wilderness, he was cautioned, “See that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount.” In his law God has given us a pattern. Our character building is to be “after the pattern showed to thee in the mount.” The law is the great standard of righteousness. It represents the character of God, and is the test of our loyalty to his government. And it is revealed to us, in all its beauty and excellence, in the life of Christ. The law is the detector of sin. 

We have inspired testimony on this point: “For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came [home to the conscience], sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.” Rom. 7:9-11. This is the work that it will do for every soul that is living in sin. The law points out sin, and condemns it, and sends the sinner to Christ for pardon and cleansing. “The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.”
 

 -: Granitebay SDA Church