Devotional: Jesus Looked Beyond Appearances

September 25, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional No Comments

One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to eat. When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, ‘If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!’

Then Jesus answered his thoughts. ‘Simon,’ he said to the Pharisee, ‘I have something to say to you.’

‘Go ahead, Teacher,’ Simon replied.

Then Jesus told him this story: ‘A man loaned money to two people—500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other. But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?’

Simon answered, ‘I suppose the one for whom he canceled the larger debt.’

‘That’s right,’ Jesus said. Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, ‘Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.

‘I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.’ Then Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’

The men at the table said among themselves, ‘Who is this man, that he goes around forgiving sins?’

And Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’

– Luke 7:36-50

 
It’s easy to reject someone because they appear different from us. To the Pharisee who hosted Jesus in this story, the woman who anointed the Lord’s feet was a sinner… Her reputation in the town had been sullied; her past was littered with one-night stands. Nobody of high reputation, especially not this religious leader, would want to be seen with her. Yet Jesus allowed her to anoint his feet with perfume, cover them with tears and wipe them with her hair.
 
Why did Jesus do this? Because he looked beyond this woman’s past and saw her future. He knew she ‘loved much’ because she had been forgiven much. His parable and his sharp rebuke of the Pharisee (vv.41-47) bring his actions—and the lessons we’re to learn through them—into razor-sharp focus.
 
How would you have responded if you had been present that evening? Or, to be more pointed, who do you respond to people who are different from yourself–people with lighter or darker skin, people who speak with a different accent, people whose bad reputation precedes them? Remember, Jesus loved and accepted love from someone just like that. And today he wants those who follow him to show the same kind of love. Jesus looked beyond appearances. He shunned stereotypes. Just as Jesus did, look beyond such a person’s past or his or her differences. Look toward that person’s bright potential future–complete forgiveness of sins and eternity with Jesus Christ.
 

This devotional is an excerpt from the PK Study Bible. For more devotionals and encouraging resources, download the FREE Promise Keepers app. (Download for iOS or for Android.)

Devotional: Jacob & Laban

September 23, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional No Comments

“…for he said, ‘The Lord watch between you and me, when we are out of one another’s sight.'” – Genesis 31:49

The relationship between Jacob and Laban is tragic—and all too familiar. This verse essentially says, ‘I can’t watch you all the time, so may God watch you when I can’t.” While many people mistakenly read this statement as a blessing, it is actually filled with skepticism and veiled accusation.

How sad that men’s behavior breeds antagonism and mistrust. So many things drive us apart that we have to work overtime to build bridges. Although the suspicion and antagonism between these men had more than enough basis in behavior, the end result was still tragic. How much more tragic are the divisions between us that are based on tradition, race and other things. Only the power of God at work in men who love him can overcome the barriers that separate us. Do something today that actively builds a bridge to someone to whom you may not otherwise relate.

This devotional is an excerpt from the PK Study Bible. For more devotionals and encouraging resources, download the FREE Promise Keepers app. (Download for iOS or for Android.)

Why Worry?

September 15, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional No Comments
Luke 12:22-34 – “Why Worry?”
 
Worry infects all members of society. In today’s turbulent culture, people worry about their health, their wealth, their jobs, their families and their futures. Jesus understood our tendency to worry. That’s why He addressed the issue head on. The Lord not only commanded us not to worry, he told us why we shouldn’t. Consider the following points:
 
  • Worry ignores God’s faithfulness. If God feeds the birds and clothes the flowers, doesn’t it make sense that he’ll provide for us?
  • Worry ignores its own limitations. Has anything ever changed for the better because we worried about it? Of course not! Yet we worry as though the mere act of worrying will somehow make a difference.
  • Worry ignores God’s love. Unbelievers, like fatherless orphans, worry about the future. But God’s children don’t need to worry. The God who gives life also cares for his own.
  • Worry ignores the present. When we worry about the future, we miss out on the blessings of today.
The next time you find yourself worrying, turn to this passage. If you’re still anxious after reading it, then ask yourself which of these four things you’re ignoring. Consider how different your perspective might be if you didn’t ignore them.
This devotional is an excerpt from the PK Study Bible

Prayer for a Nation

September 12, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional
Daniel 9:1-19
 
Make no mistake about it: Life is difficult, and there are no detours to get us around life’s trials. We’ll all encounter them. So the question of our lives is not, ‘How can we avoid hardship?’ The question should be, ‘How can we hold on to God when times get tough?’ In the face of great adversity, Daniel grabbed hold of God and refused to let go. How did he do it? Daniel prayed. And within his prayer we find an example that we’ll do well to follow.
 
First, Daniel’s prayer flowed from his knowledge of God and God’s Word. As Daniel examined the Scripture he discovered that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. The realization that this time would soon be completed drove the prophet to his knees.
 
Second, Daniel’s prayer was filled with confession and repentance. Notice that he prayed not only for his own sins, but for those of the nation. God had disciplined Israel because of its sins. The only way the nation could move forward was for each individual to turn from his or her sin is the same confusion and repentance. Realizing that, Daniel poured out his heart to God.
 
Third, Daniel pled for mercy. He didn’t demand. Instead, he humbly asked God to extend mercy to a people who didn’t deserve it.
The church today needs men who will pray as David did. Indeed, prayer is our only hope.
We need men who are devoted to praying for themselves, for their families, for their church communities, and for their country.
This devotional is an excerpt from the PK Study Bible

God’s Children

August 28, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

“‘I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.’ And he worshiped the LORD there.” – 1 Samuel 1:27-28

Hannah knew her son was a gift from God, and she could give him back to God. Hannah couldn’t guarantee how Samuel would turn out. But Hannah trusted God with her son’s life, saying, ‘For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.’

If you have a child, think of what it would mean to give that child to God and to see yourself as a teacher and shaper of a human soul who belongs to God. When you talk to him, when you reach out to correct some behavior, when you decide to take him to church, when he asks you a question, you are responding to God’s property.

The thousands upon thousands of decisions you make in regard to your child through his or her lifetime shape a living soul whom God has entrusted to your care. You may not have given your child back to God like Hannah did in these verses, but that doesn’t change the fact that he or she is God’s gift to you. Why not stop right now and pray verse 28, inserting your child’s name in the first sentence: “So now I give_____ to the Lord. For his or her whole life he or she will be given over to the Lord.”

If you have no children, think of the young people and others whom you come into contact with. All people, no matter what their age, have been created in God’s image and deserve the dignity of that position. Keep in mind that when you respond to another person, you’re responding to God’s child.

A devotional from the Promise Keepers Study Bible

Promise 6: Becoming a Peacemaker

June 20, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional, PK Men's Study Bible

Promise 6: Unity

A Promise Keeper is committed to reaching beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity.

 

“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny. – Matthew 5:21-26

How important is it for you to be at peace with other people? It’s crucial! In fact, Jesus said that if you’re at odds with someone, it’s your responsibility to go to them right away and do all you can to make peace. That means approaching people in your family, at work and at church, regardless of their ethnic, socioeconomic or educational background.

How important is it for you to become a peacemaker? In verses 24 and 25 Jesus urges you to pursue peace before you approach God for worship, whether that’s in a church or in your personal prayer time. Why? Because a broken human relationship is a roadblock that stands between you and a proper relationship with God.

Is there someone you need to talk with today? Do you need to extend a hand of forgiveness? If so, pick up your phone right now and make that call. Reconciliation is one of the key principles of Scripture; a man can’t be in a growing relationship with God unless he is actively forgiving his brothers and sisters (see 1 John 2:9-11).

 

This devotional is reprinted from the Promise Keepers Study Bible.

Promise 6: No Barriers

June 10, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional, PK Men's Study Bible

Promise 6: Unity

A Promise Keeper is committed to reaching beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity.

 

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility. – Ephesians 2:14

David knew both teamwork and hostility. In his life he made both friends who would have died for him and enemies who would have loved to kill him. As he considered these two extremes, he wrote in this psalm, ‘Unity is good and pleasant.’

Paul was committed to declaring the message of reconciliation between Jews and Gentiles. He often wrote and spoke about tearing down the barriers that separated Jews and other races. The “wall of hostility” that Paul mentions here is a reference to the ultimate symbol of Jewish/Gentile separation – a barrier that had been erected in the temple courts to separate Jewish and Gentile worshipers.

In his death and resurrection, Jesus Christ destroyed all such walls. But today, as in Paul’s time, Christians have often refused to live in the unity he has won for us. Jesus has freely given us reconciliation between God and our fellow believers, but we fail to appropriate the unity that should emerge from that gift. Tragically, we have chosen to highlight differences between ourselves and others. But Christ’s power still shatters these flimsy constructions, be they physical, psychological, stereotypical or spiritual. Knowing this, our job is to not only point people to Christ, but, like Paul, to remind believers that in Christ there are no barriers.

That message begins with each individual. What can you do today to begin to live in the unity that Jesus Christ has won?

This devotional is reprinted from the Promise Keepers Study Bible.

Fathers

June 4, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional

A good father is one of the most unsung, upraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society. — Dr. Billy Graham

In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Roses are the Father’s Day flowers: red to be worn for a living father and white if the father has died … but it wasn’t always so. The idea for creating a day for children to honor their fathers began in Spokane, Washington, right next to the little town where we currently live.

Sonora Smart Dodd thought of the idea for Father’s Day while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. Having been raised by her father, Henry Jackson Smart, after her mother died, Sonora wanted her father to know how special he was to her. It was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in her eyes, a courageous, selfless, and loving man. Sonora’s father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father’s Day celebration on June 19th, 1910, in Spokane.

My father went to be with the Lord many years ago. He was a gentle and quiet man who really didn’t have much time to spend with me while I was young, but I loved him so much. His legacy to me was his kind heart and great integrity. He taught me to be responsible, that grace was important, but that my poor judgement or bad behavior had consequences. I didn’t get an allowance or trophy unless I earned it. I am so very grateful for him, and I really miss him.

It is human nature to assume and expect that those things we cherish most will always be with us. Many folks are so caught up in their careers that they don’t take time to really show their appreciation to others, especially their parents. I’m thankful that the Lord gave me almost four months during my dad’s battle with cancer to “get it right”. Dad enjoyed going for rides, watching the A’s games, and popping down to the donut shop to get a cup of coffee and a donut with his friends.

None of these things were favorites with me; however, I knew dad enjoyed them, so they became important to me. My greatest regrets in life revolve around my dad. I wish I’d have taken more time to really know him.

Obviously, we don’t have to wait for a national holiday to honor our dads or spend time with them. If your father is still alive, consider calling him today to let him know how much you appreciate him. Send him a note or take him to coffee if you live close. If your relationship is strained, too painful, or simply estranged, ask God if you might have any part in reconciliation. If your father has passed away or you never knew him, consider showing your appreciation for other folks in your life who have mentored you, been models of faith, and offered you encouragement. In America, we spell love: T-I-M-E. Let’s not be too busy to show our appreciation.

Personal Application

Let’s remember to “Honor your father…” Matt. 15:4a, and “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Col. 3:15 Ask God how you might show your appreciation to your father or those in your life who have truly made a difference. If you have a painful past with your father, ask God to bring healing. Remember, He is the Father to the fatherless. Ps. 68:5

This devotional is a guest post by Dr. Jim Grassi. He is the founder of Men’s Ministry Catalyst, a ministry partner of Promise Keepers.

Promise 6: David’s View on Unity

June 1, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional, PK Men's Study Bible

Promise 6: Unity

A Promise Keeper is committed to reaching beyond any racial and denominational barriers to demonstrate the power of biblical unity.

 

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore. – Psalm 133:1-3

David knew both teamwork and hostility. In his life he made both friends who would have died for him and enemies who would have loved to kill him. As he considered these two extremes, he wrote in this psalm, ‘Unity is good and pleasant.’

The imagery of this poem made a powerful statement to David’s countrymen. Only under David and Solomon did the twelve tribes of Israel dwell in unity. For the rest of their history they bickered and fought as two separate nations. There’s a lesson in the fact that Israel reached her political and religious pinnacle when David and Solomon were her kings. United, the twelve tribes did what they could never have done divided. During those glory years they set the standard for worship and left a legacy that has inspired Jewish people throughout history.

God’s Word states here and in many other places: “It is good and it is pleasant when God’s people dwell together in unity.” Anyone who isolates himself from other believers, regardless of the reason, is disobedient to God’s Word and is crippling his Christian witness. David and other biblical writers teach that reconciliation is not just a good idea, it is God’s will and command.

Join those who work for unity among God’s people. Make on phone call or initiate a conversation today that will build a bridge to someone you might not normally contact. Find out for yourself how ‘good and pleasant’ it is when God’s people dwell together in unity.

This devotional is reprinted from the Promise Keepers Study Bible.

Promise 5: Proper Perspective

May 23, 2020By PK ManagerDevotional, PK Men's Study Bible

Promise 5: Changemaking

A Promise Keeper understands that Jesus calls him to be His hands and feet, serving others with integrity. He purposely lifts up the leadership of the church and his nation in prayer.

 

So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. – Genesis 45:8

What a perspective! Joseph defined his whole life by the fact that God had placed him in his situation for ministry. Even though Joseph had experienced many tough times and had been in situations that would have made any man bitter, he chose to see these things as God’s sovereign hand at work. Joseph believed that through these events God was placing him where he could best be used as God’s instrument.

Think about the many roles that you fill in life—husband, father, employee, brother, son. God has placed you there to minister. Your church is his place of training; through its ministry and outreach, you can be a modern-day Joseph.

This devotional is reprinted from the Promise Keepers Study Bible.