Category Archive : Believers Chapel

Daily Devotional: Epic Fails

Daily Devotional Overview:

This 14-day reading plan explores the stories of men and women of the Bible who messed up big time, but people that God still chose to use for His purposes. Learn from some of the Bible’s heaviest hitters while being encouraged in your own walk with God.Daily Devotional: Epic Fails – Day 3

Key Scriptures:

  • Exodus 2:11-15

Devotional:

A murderer isn’t often thought of as the first choice for spiritual leadership. In fact, we label those who fall into this dangerous category as the unforgivable and cast them to the fringe of society. However, God doesn’t operate as we do and His ways are higher than ours! Moses is a perfect example of this.

For the first 40 years of his life, Moses grew up in Pharaoh’s house where he had everything he could ever want–power, money, prestige, notoriety–yet like any man growing up in an idolatrous world, there was a major gap between who he was born to be and where he currently was.

There is a time in Moses’ life when he is living in Pharaoh’s house yet knows he is truly Hebrew. He’s out walking and observes an Egyptian slave driver beating a Hebrew. Moses murders the Egyptian and buries him in the sand. The next day he realizes there were witnesses and soon the news travels to Pharaoh, who attempts to kill Moses. Moses flees to the land of Midian and this is where his 40-year journey with God begins.

Moses, who had been one of the most powerful people in the world and had all the comforts he could ever want now lived in obscurity shepherding flocks for his father-in-law, Jethro. He spent long days and nights in the wilderness on his own; evenings under the stars contemplating life and his purpose as he sat with the animals. Conversations with God about the dreams in his heart and reconciling how he could be used for God’s glory out in the wilderness.

Moses spent a long time in Pharaoh’s house and in the world. I believe that Moses spent 40 years in obscurity so that God could pull those things from the world out in order to make Moses into the leader he would use to bring Israel out of captivity. We often fantasize Moses’ great years of ministry and leading Israel towards the Promised Land, yet we overlook his 40 years in the wilderness. We want his influence but not his preparation.

To you who feels lost in the desert, longing to see one dream come true, hold on. If you’re still bursting to move forward, take a moment to evaluate where you’re at. Chances are there is something from your time spent in the world God is trying to get out through some pruning.

God took a murderer from the world’s stage, sent him into obscurity overseeing sheep, and transformed that man into a great leader who would deliver a nation. Now that’s a powerful testimony if I’ve ever heard one.

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Daily Devotional: Epic Fails

Daily Devotional Overview:

This 14-day reading plan explores the stories of men and women of the Bible who messed up big time, but people that God still chose to use for His purposes. Learn from some of the Bible’s heaviest hitters while being encouraged in your own walk with God.

Key Scriptures:

  • Genesis 25:29-34
  •  Genesis 27:1-46

Devotional:

If there was ever a shady character in the Bible that God redeemed in a big way it was Jacob. The guy’s name literally means “deceiver” if that tells you anything. Today, we will take a look at this man who started out as a cheater and ended as the father of a nation.

Abraham had a son named Isaac, who had two sons named Esau and Jacob. The two sons were twin brothers born seconds apart, which is where it all started. Jacob came out of his mother’s womb clasping at the heel of his older brother Esau. From that point on, Jacob was not content to be who God had birthed him to be. He wanted the birthright and blessing that belonged to the firstborn, his older brother.

In Genesis 25 Esau comes home from a long day of hard work, starving. Jacob has stew but when Esau asks for some, Jacob says that if Esau wants some stew he has to sell his birthright to him. Aside from the fact that Esau made a dumb move, Jacob shows pretty lousy character here. The guy is willing to let his brother starve for a birthright–something that belonged to Esau–which is incredibly manipulative.

It gets worse. In Genesis 27, as their father Isaac lies on his deathbed, Jacob deceives his father into thinking he’s Esau in order to steal the blessing. He dresses up and talks like Esau; he even flat out lies to his father when asked who he is.

Rightly so, Jacob fears for his life upon stealing Esau’s blessing and he flees. But this is the start of God’s transformation in Jacob’s life. Over the next few chapters and decades, God teaches Jacob who is in control. Interestingly enough, Jacob himself ends up being deceived by his future father-in-law, Laban.

Jacob ends up facing many trials over the years, but God moves mightily in his life. In fact, he ends up restoring the relationship between Jacob and Esau. Perhaps the most transformative moment in Jacob’s life took place in Genesis 32 over one restless night. Heading back to Esau with his growing family, Jacob wrestles with God, and by the end of the experience, God renames Jacob to “Israel,” which means, “God strives,” “God rules,” “God heals,” or “he strives against God.”

At this pivotal point, Israel is forever changed after his experience with God almighty.

God can metaphorically rename you once you’ve wrestled with Him and declared a new way of life His way. He can and wants to transform you and your life completely! It’s okay if you wrestle with Him to get there. Ultimately He reigns and prevails, changing your life like no other can (not even yourself).

If there is one thing that echos from Jacob’s story to today is the transformative power of God. Jacob was a deceiver who eventually became the father of God’s chosen people, Israel. God birthed His nation from a manipulator who was willing to deceive his own family.

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Daily Devotional: Epic Fails - Day 2

Daily Devotional Overview:

This 14-day reading plan explores the stories of men and women of the Bible who messed up big time, but people that God still chose to use for His purposes. Learn from some of the Bible’s heaviest hitters while being encouraged in your own walk with God.

Key Scriptures:

  •  Genesis 12:10-20
  •  Genesis 20:1-18

Devotional:

Today we start with the father of Israel, Abraham. A man credited with incredible faith and revered for his place in our heritage. Even so, he was still a man who made mistakes.

What’s interesting is that Abram didn’t start with the makings of being the great patriarch of Israel. In fact, Abram came from a godless home in a wicked nation. Not much to start with, which makes him a perfect candidate for many of us to relate to.

We first learn of him in Genesis 12 as God calls Abram to the faith. He is living in Haran with his family when God reveals Himself to Abram and commands him to go to a new land. Along the many years Abram follows God’s instructions, usually never knowing what the next step would be, his faith grows leaps and bounds through the various trials. However, there were a few bumps in the road.

Not long after Abram steps out to follow God a famine hits and he decides to take his family to Egypt where food was plentiful. The Bible is pretty clear when God spoke to Abram, but this is not one of those moments. We never see God tell Abram to go, so it’s gathered that Abram made that decision on his own. Out of fear and uncertainty Abram decides to move his family to a wicked nation. This is the first step down a dangerous path, showing us that when we decide to make decisions based off of what we think is best instead of what God says is best, we wander into risky territory.

Unfortunately, Abram’s poor decisions didn’t stop there. He was married to the very beautiful Sarai and he was afraid he would be killed by men in Egypt who wanted his wife. So he hatched a plan to go into Egypt as brother and sister instead of husband and wife. Abram was afraid of men so he took matters into his own hands and decided to live a lie. Can you imagine claiming your spouse as a sibling and allowing them to live in a harem?!

God judges the situation and creates an opportunity for Abram and Sarai to leave untouched, thankfully. But poor Abram, sometimes you have to wonder about him. Sadly he doesn’t learn from his mistake, because in Genesis 20 he does the exact same thing in another country.

In between these two circumstances God promises Abram that he will have descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky at a time Abram and Sarai have no children. Eventually, Sarai convinces Abram to take matters into their own hands and Abram sleeps with another woman to conceive a child.

Abram shows a pattern of taking matters into his own hands when things get tough. Perhaps this is why God rarely showed Abram the next step–to teach him faith. As a result, perhaps it’s why Abram is now known as Abraham, full of faith. The man who was willing to lay his son on the altar because he believed in God’s promise to provide heirs.

Most of the time we can’t see the next step and we don’t know what God is up to. Perhaps you’ve taken matters into your own hands before and it didn’t work out. Thankfully we get to have this beautiful relationship with a kind and gracious God who redeems our past for a flourishing future.

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Daily Devotional: Epic Fails

Daily Devotional Overview:

This 14-day reading plan explores the stories of men and women of the Bible who messed up big time, but people that God still chose to use for His purposes. Learn from some of the Bible’s heaviest hitters while being encouraged in your own walk with God.

Key Scriptures:

  •  Colossians 1:13-14

Devotional:

Lying. Murder. Sexual Immorality. Disobedience. These are but a few of the sins committed by the Bible’s prominent pillars. They were people who made epic failures in their moments of weakness, yet they are also people God redeemed and used in powerful ways to build His Kingdom.

That’s what this reading plan is all about; exploring mighty men and women of God who had some epic fails along the way. However, their stories didn’t end when their failure happened. Instead, they were redeemed, grew through the trials, and were used in incredible ways. In fact, God still chose to use them for His purpose.

I love how The Message puts Colossians 1:13-14,

“God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating.”

You are not doomed to repeat the past. God loves you so much that he will rescue you from the alleys and dungeons and bring you into the light for His purposes. The stories of these men and women show us just that!

My prayer is that this plan is an encouragement to you in your own faith journey; to know that no matter what you’ve done in the past, God still has a purpose for us.

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Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional Overview:

In this daily devotional, you will reignite your motivation to dive into God’s Word as Pastor James MacDonald guides you through six things God Himself promises His Word to accomplish in those who hide it in their hearts. We’ll look at Psalm 19 and examine the reality that Scripture has the power to transform; bring wisdom, joy, & justice; enlighten; and stabilize its teachable readers.

Key Scriptures:

  • Hebrews 4:12

Devotional:

God Promises His Word to be Justice-Rendering

The judgments of the Lord set a path of justice through human history that will ultimately right every wrong and silence every rebel.

God’s Word promises justice. Deep within the heart of every person on the face of the earth is a sense of right and wrong and a longing for justice—both personally and in our world. God made us to look for and long for true justice.

Psalm 19:9b says, “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether” (NKJV). Sometimes we might suppress that God-given hunger for justice, but then we see crime and evil in our society escalating at a sickening pace, and our yearning for justice can become terrifically difficult to handle.

So how do you cope with this? The only way I know is to keep in mind that we have a God of perfect justice.

“The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.” The word “judgments” describes God’s verdicts, pronouncements of consequence, and punishment for sin. When God makes a judgment, it is true and altogether righteous. Though the final judgment of God will happen in the future, the Bible tells us what His verdicts will be. God is not capricious like our human judges; He doesn’t operate according to His moods or personal circumstances. We can be confident that the Lord will judge fairly, precisely, and consistently with all He has told us in Scripture—at exactly the right time.

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Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional Overview:

In this daily devotional, you will reignite your motivation to dive into God’s Word as Pastor James MacDonald guides you through six things God Himself promises His Word to accomplish in those who hide it in their hearts. We’ll look at Psalm 19 and examine the reality that Scripture has the power to transform; bring wisdom, joy, & justice; enlighten; and stabilize its teachable readers.

Key Scriptures:

  • Psalms 73:2
  • Psalms 73:23-26

Devotional:

God Promises His Word to be Stabilizing

The fear of the Lord is without blemish and brings stability to every person in every generation who turns to Him.

Psalm 19:9a says, “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever” (ESV). Fear is the attitude of the heart that seeks a right relationship to the fear source. When you have the fear of the Lord, you have something in your heart that makes you want to be in a right relationship with God. The fear of the Lord is like a wall around your behavior that hems you in and protects you from making bad choices. It’s the fear of the Lord that causes you to avoid certain behaviors that would displease Him and bring negative consequences.

The Bible is a book that instructs us on how to relate to God properly—that is, in the fear of the Lord.

Hebrews 10:31 tells us, “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (NASB). Yet into His hands we all will fall someday, and the Bible is the book that tells us how to get ready. If you fear God in this life, you will not have to fear Him in the life to come, because the fear of the Lord is clean. By that the Bible means that the fear of the Lord is “without blemish”; it is “undiminished, uncompromised, and without delusion or defilement.”

The Word of God is not only clean, but it is “enduring forever.” How badly we need a source of stability when circumstances shake our world. We never have to worry that God’s Word may be out of date or in need of revision; it is just as relevant as it was the day it was written. Circumstances may change, cultures and world leaders may come and go, but God’s Word is always current because it deals with two things that never change: the God who made us and the deepest needs of the human heart.

In every place, in every generation, in every century, in every millennium the Bible is a source of stability for all who turn to it.

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Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional Overview:

In this daily devotional, you will reignite your motivation to dive into God’s Word as Pastor James MacDonald guides you through six things God Himself promises His Word to accomplish in those who hide it in their hearts. We’ll look at Psalm 19 and examine the reality that Scripture has the power to transform; bring wisdom, joy, & justice; enlighten; and stabilize its teachable readers.

Key Scriptures:

  • Psalms 94:19

Devotional:

God Promises His Word to be Enlightening

The commands of God are so crystal-clear that they bring light into the darkness in every human heart.

God’s Word eliminates darkness. “The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Psalm 19:8b, ESV). Commandments are orders or divine decrees—the things God insists that we do and keep on doing. One version translates pure as “radiant.” This is the idea of the absolute absence of impurity.

The world we live in is very dark, and the book God wrote has the power to dispel all that darkness and confusion. If you are struggling this moment with a lot of questions about your life and the world we live in—if you struggle to reconcile what you see with the existence of a loving God—you really must get into the Book where He explains all of that. If you do, without a doubt you will discover that “the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.”

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Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional Overview:

In this daily devotional, you will reignite your motivation to dive into God’s Word as Pastor James MacDonald guides you through six things God Himself promises His Word to accomplish in those who hide it in their hearts. We’ll look at Psalm 19 and examine the reality that Scripture has the power to transform; bring wisdom, joy, & justice; enlighten; and stabilize its teachable readers.

Key Scriptures:

  • Psalms 94:19

Devotional:

God Promises His Word to be Joy-Giving

God’s divine principles set a right path through the maze of life and cause our hearts to rejoice.

“The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart” (Psalm 19:8a, NKJV). Notice the progression we’ve been outlining. First the Word of God converts you. Then it makes you wise, and then it causes your heart to rejoice.
Statutes are God’s rulings, prescriptions, pronouncements, and principles.

The world has principles, too—that seldom guide and never satisfy. But “the statutes of the Lord are right.” Isn’t that great to know? They’re not off-track, not even by a degree. They’re one hundred percent right. God’s principles and statutes are correct in all that they assert. They set a right path. Life is like a maze, and the statutes of God set a right path through that maze so we don’t wander aimlessly or get lost or sidetracked by things that don’t ultimately matter.

Never do we have so much joy in this world as when we are living in conformity to God’s Word. Never. Like an engine firing on all cylinders; a gazelle running at full speed; or a symphony with every instrument pounding out the melody and harmonies in perfect tune and rhythm . . . when you’re doing the things that God created you to do and told you to do in His Word, your life will begin to overflow with unprecedented joy.

This joy that comes to the human heart can’t be experienced any other way than by rightly understanding the Bible. Jeremiah 15:16 says, “Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart” (ESV).

Can I challenge you to turn off the television, silence the phone, and give the book God has written a chance to feed and fill your soul, like you never have before? God’s Word will bring you joy. Guaranteed.

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Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional Overview:

In this daily devotional, you will reignite your motivation to dive into God’s Word as Pastor James MacDonald guides you through six things God Himself promises His Word to accomplish in those who hide it in their hearts. We’ll look at Psalm 19 and examine the reality that Scripture has the power to transform; bring wisdom, joy, & justice; enlighten; and stabilize its teachable readers.

Key Scriptures:

  •  Psalms 19

Devotional:

God Promises His Word to be Wisdom-Giving

God’s testimony about Himself is so reliable that it can take a foolish, clueless person and make him or her skilled in daily living.

“The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7b, NKJV). I love that word testimony. The root word means “to bear witness.” “The testimony of the Lord” pictures God as giving witness to Himself. God is giving a report or, we might say, taking the stand in His own defense. It’s as if Almighty God is being sworn in at a trial, raising His right hand, and bearing witness to Himself. God certainly doesn’t need to take any oaths. In fact, the Bible says that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2), but the word testimony carries the idea of God bearing witness to Himself.

Note how the testimony is described: “The testimony of the Lord is sure.” The word sure there conveys the idea of being “reliable” or “durable.” It’s actually similar to the verb that means “amen.” So you could translate it: “The testimony of the Lord is amen.” This phrase pictures God as one who always, only speaks the truth.

The testimony of the Lord is so reliable that it is able to take people with no clue about where they are headed or why, and tum them into individuals characterized by wisdom.

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Daily Devotional

Daily Devotional Overview:

In this daily devotional, you will reignite your motivation to dive into God’s Word as Pastor James MacDonald guides you through six things God Himself promises His Word to accomplish in those who hide it in their hearts. We’ll look at Psalm 19 and examine the reality that Scripture has the power to transform; bring wisdom, joy, & justice; enlighten; and stabilize its teachable readers.

Key Scriptures:

  •  Psalms 139:23-24

Devotional:

God Promises His Word to be Transformative

The law of the Lord is so comprehensive that it’s able to totally transform the inner person.

Psalm 19:7 says, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul” (NKJV). I love that phrase, “the law of the Lord.” The word law means the Torah, “the law for life, rule for living.” When God’s Word is spoken of as law, it means the norm or the standard by which every action is measured. So whose law is it? The Bible is the law “of the Lord.”

God says about His own Word that it’s “perfect.” The word perfect means literally “all-sided” or “many-faceted.” It means “all encompassing” or “thorough in every respect.” In fact this “law of the Lord” is so comprehensive that we are told that it is effective in “converting the soul.”

What Scripture is telling us is that God’s Word is the answer to our soul problem. To paraphrase what is written: “God’s law is so totally comprehensive that it is able to convert a soul.” The word convert is fantastic. Some translations use the English word “revive” or “restore,” but the most accurate meaning is “transform.”

God promises that His law is so totally comprehensive that, whatever the condition of the individual soul, His Word can transform it from top to bottom, from inside to outside, from past to future.

Scripture changes you to the very core of who you are as a person.

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