Today is a daily devotional that helps God's people refresh, refocus and renew their faith through Bible reading, reflection, and prayer.
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head. . . .
— Psalm 133:1-2
The unity of God’s people is a beautiful thing. The Bible calls it “good and pleasant.”
“Good and pleasant” unity is not always easy to see, however. You may not feel the beauty of unity with other Christians when you disagree with them. Or when you feel that they are cruel to you or to others. Or when you simply do not understand why they act and believe the way they do. You might find yourself thinking, “How could unity with them be beautiful?”
Psalm 133 says that the unity of God’s people is like oil anointing a priest, or like dew on a mountain. Those were both considered beautiful things by the people of Israel. And those were both seen as gracious gifts from God. The people didn’t give the priest his authority (represented by anointing oil); that was God’s doing. And the people didn’t put the dew on the mountain; only God could do that.
Similarly, we cannot create Christian unity by our own efforts. Only the grace of Jesus can unite us with each other in Christian community.
We know that each one of us is saved only by the grace of Jesus. This means that none of us deserves salvation—and yet we receive salvation anyway. We can live in unity by the power of that grace.
God of grace, show me the beautiful and gracious gift of Christian unity. Unite me with Jesus and with all who follow him. Amen.
“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.”
— Mark 14:6
After Jesus died, his body was supposed to be anointed. That was the custom with dead bodies, to honor the deceased and help keep away the smell of decay. But when a group of women came to anoint Jesus’ body in the tomb (Mark 16), they could not find it! Jesus had risen from the dead.
This helps to explain an important detail in our reading for today. A few days before Jesus died, a woman anointed him at a dinner gathering using expensive perfume. Some of the guests were offended at the waste, but Jesus was not. He said, “She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial” (v. 8). Even if the woman didn’t know it then, her act of honor and devotion hinted at the resurrection; she was anointing Jesus because he wouldn’t be anointed later.
Jesus said that what she did was beautiful. Any action that points to the resurrection of Jesus is beautiful. When we preach about the resurrection today, it is beautiful. When a hospice nurse gives tender care to a dying person, it is beautiful. When we raise children to live with courage in a world of fear, it is beautiful. When we are willing to give up trying to control things that we can’t control, even though it makes us afraid of our limits, it is beautiful. Jesus rose from the dead, and celebrating that fact is a beautiful way to live.
Risen Lord Jesus, we praise you for your victory over death. We praise you that as the anointed King, you would die and rise again to give us new life. Amen.
The Service of Love
“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example. . . .”
— John 13:14-15
A few days ago (June 19) we reflected on 1 Corinthians 13, which gives a picture of the beautiful love that Jesus calls us to live by. It’s a love that is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, and is not proud. We show this kind of love in humility and with acts of kindness and service.
Jesus showed this kind of love when he washed his disciples’ feet. John 13 tells us about it. Jesus dressed himself like a servant, wrapping a towel around his waist and getting down on the floor. The disciples felt embarrassed that Jesus would do such a thing. But he explained that a beautiful life consists of receiving this kind of servant-love from him and then sharing it with others.
This is one of the most direct commands that Jesus gives us in the Bible about how to follow his example. Though washing people’s feet may not be a part of our culture today, there are many other ways to serve people with the love of Christ. We can listen to them; we can advocate for them; we can share our time and gifts. We can show people everywhere the humble love of Christ, and we can encourage them to show Christ’s love to others. In this way the love of Christ can spread everywhere and transform the world!
Jesus, our servant-King, we are so grateful for the humble love you have shown to us. Give us the humility to receive this love from you and to share it with others everywhere. In your name, Amen.
In the Sanctuary
One thing I ask from the Lord . . . to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.
— Psalm 27:4
The word sanctuary can refer to two different things. It describes a place that is holy, set apart for worship. It also describes a place of safety, where someone in danger can go to find shelter and protection.
Psalm 27 helps us understand how the two meanings of this word overlap. When we have received salvation from God, we are called to worship God. We go to the sanctuary to offer God our worship. We do this not for our own sake, but for God’s sake. God is holy and beautiful and calls us to worship him, so we offer God our worship.
But when we give God our worship, we receive a wonderful gift as well. Psalm 27 describes the presence of God as a place of safety. Because God is our Savior, we receive comfort and security in God’s presence. When we go to the sanctuary to worship God, we give God worship, and we receive peace from God.
This is why the psalmist longs to worship God. The beauty of the Lord compels the psalmist to go to the sanctuary of the Lord and worship him.
We can rejoice in following God’s command to worship too. For as we worship God, we receive his comfort, peace blessing, strength, and renewed energy to live for him. God is our stronghold—of whom shall we be afraid?
Beautiful Lord, help me to worship you. May I humbly offer you all my praise. Thank you also for granting me peace and security in your presence. Amen.
God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
— Romans 5:5
In the film Tender Mercies, a man and a young boy are baptized. Afterward, the boy says, “Everybody said I was gonna feel like a changed person. I guess I do feel a little different, but I don’t feel a whole lot different. Do you?” The man responds: “Not yet.”
It’s a charming, light-hearted conversation, but it gets at something true about the Christian life. When you are saved by Jesus, or when you are baptized as a sign of your salvation, you do not instantly become a good person. We even notice that sometimes non-Christians are more kind or more generous than some Christians are.
The Bible explains that the Holy Spirit is at work in every person’s life. When a person is being transformed by Jesus, the process is gradual. The person’s life begins to change, to become more beautiful—and it might happen so slowly that we barely notice it. But Romans 5 promises that the Holy Spirit is at work both now and in the future, in good times and in bad. The Spirit uses even the suffering in our lives to shape us into people of perseverance, character, and hope.
If you have committed to following Jesus, you might not feel different yet. But you can trust that the Holy Spirit is working in your life.
Holy Spirit, change me to make me more like Jesus. Give me patience with your steady work in my life. Make my life a beautiful reflection of God’s love for me. Amen.
The Good Life
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.
— Psalm 1:3
A group of volunteers planted some new trees last spring in the neighborhood where I live. As a resident, I received the gift of two trees in front of my house. My responsibility now is to make sure the trees are well-watered so that they can flourish and grow. The huge old oak trees in my backyard do just fine with rainwater alone. But the new young trees need some extra watering until they grow deep roots and can survive on their own.
The Bible’s message is that God created us in love and has saved us through faith in Jesus, by grace alone. As people saved by grace, we are invited to live the good life that God has designed for us. We live this way not to earn our salvation, but to show our gratitude to God, to grow in faith, and to flourish in the good life God wants for us. God has given us salvation as a free gift, and we gratefully aim to follow God’s law because it’s the best way to live. It’s what we were designed for.
Psalm 1 says that living this good life is like being a tree planted by streams of water. That tree will yield fruit and will not wither, because the tree is living the way it is meant to live, nourished by the water of life given by its creator. So it is with people. When we are planted and nourished by God’s way of love, we will flourish.
God, make me like a tree planted by streams of water. Root my life in your law of love, so that I can live the way you have designed me to live. Amen.
Short, Detailed, & Godly
This is exactly what I was looking for. I was looking for a short Bible devotional and mini explanation of it or thought to make you think about your life and God through out the day. This podcast nailed it and they threw in a bonus for me and it’s the prayer at the end. I also notice if you click on the episode information they give you the Bible verse or verses they read and all they spoke about even the prayer. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your podcast. Keep up the good job! God bless!
I thoroughly enjoy this daily devotional. I found it an excellent way to start my mornings. The messages are short, to the point, and explained in a matter that is easy to understand. I have felt my faith beginning to grow as I listen to this daily. Thank you and keep up the amazing work!