Almost Daily Devotional

I have recently come to a place in my journey of faith where I have learned how important it is that my relationship with Jesus is the foundation for my relationship with God, our Father.

For too long, I've focused too much on what other people think or teach. I do believe that sound doctrin is important and that church leaders should be respected, but we should never place them on pedestals that create barriers between people or set them up as a substitute for Christ.

In this episode, I share why I have a struggle with accepting phrases like “I am a Cavlvanist,””I am a Lutheran,” or “I am a Wesleyan.” The Apostle Paul addressed a similar concern in 1 Corinithians Chapter 3 when he said.. “Aren't you living like people of the world? When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren't you acting just like people of the world?” And in verse 21 Paul wrote “So don't boast about following a particular human leader.”

Why is it so imporatnt that we call ourselves Calvanists, Wesleyans, Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists, Nazaranes, etc? Can we not simply respect the fact that these earlier church leaders were mere men, saved by the same Grace that saved us, through Jesus Christ?

I am at a place where I am very interested in learning more about what these influential leaders within the church taught. However, I was not called to follow any of them. I have been saved so that I may follow Jesus alone!

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Have you ever felt that you had to adhere to a certain set of rules or principles to be worthy of God's love for you? For me, I have no problem believing that we are saved by faith in God's Grace alone and not by works.

However, somewhere along the lines, I became convinced that, if I didn't adhere to a certain set of rules and rituals, God would no longer desire to be in a relationship with me, that He would be angry with me, and that He would not accept me back into His love unless I had been punished/disciplined and/or I repented of my “sin.”

The problem became that I began to live a live where I adhered to these rules and rituals out of obligation and they, in turn, became my god(s). I felt good about myself when I did them and I felt bad about myself when I didn't do them.

In the book So You Don't Want To Go To Church Anymore, I read…

Wouldn't it be a joy to wake up confident about being loved by God every day, without having to earn it by any act of righteousness on your part? That is the secret to first love: don't try to earn it.

Know that you are accepted and loved, not for what you can do for God, or somehow hoping that you will be worthy of his acceptance, but because his greatest desire is to have you as one of his children. Jesus came to remove any obstacle that would prevent that from happening.

Another quote from this book…

There is nothing the Father desires for you more than that you fall squarely in the lap of his love and never move from that place for the rest of your life. God’s plan from the days of Creation to the day of the Second Coming was designed to bring people into the relationship of love that the Father, Son, and Spirit have shared for eternity. He wants nothing less—and nothing else!

This is no distant God who sent his Son with a list of rules to follow or rituals to practice. His mission was to invite us into his love—into a relationship with God the Father that Jesus described as friendship.

But what do we do? We are so quickly captured by a work-driven religious culture that thrives on guilt, conformity, and manipulation that it devours the very love it seeks to sustain. In Ephesus it was ferreting out false teachers. In Galatia it was getting everyone to observe the Old Testament rituals. Today it’s convincing people to cooperate with the church program.

In this episode of the Almost Daily Devotional, I share my heart on these matters.

Here are the Scriptures that I used in this episode:

Galatians 4:8-11 (NIV)

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces (or principles)? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.

Galatians 5:1-6 (NIV)

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.

Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

For through the Spirit we eagerly await, by faith, the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

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New Insights From The Woman At The Well
I have read and heard the story of Jesus and the Samaritan Woman so many times throughout my life. However, when I was reading through the story things time, there were two things that stood out to me that I had never picked up on before.

If you’re not familiar with the story, you can find it in John 4:1-42. You can read this story by going to http://goo.gl/E9Uxg

In this episode, I share two new insights that I picked up on while I was reading this story today. I’m reminded that God would love me to spend time with Him. All these years that He’s probably been saying… “If only you knew…” I’m also reminded how rare it has been for me to have such an intense desire to have the presence of God with me, so much that I’d be willing to beg Him to remain with me throughout the day.

Just think about all those who had come to faith in Christ because of the testimony of this one woman who had spent time with Jesus. I pray that God will continue to build an intensity in my desire to spend time with Him in each of us.

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The Next Christians: The Good News About the End of Christian America, by Gabe Lyons was referred to me by my good friend D.G. Hollums. I've only just got into the book, I think I'm on chapter three. So far, I'm liking the direction the book seems to be taking. It talks about how our American culture, today, is no longer a “Christian culture.” It argues that while many may want to fight this shift, there is little evidence that supports the possibility of things going back to the way things were.

In this episode of the Almost Daily Devotional, I share some of my initial thoughts on a new category given to Christians that I may actually consider myself to fit into. I posted a discussion topic in the gspn.tv online community forum at http://goo.gl/1G3ha

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As I was reading the scriptures, I came across a place where it talked about obeying God with deep reverence and fear. Even though I have a pretty good understanding of the word reverence, I decided to look up the definition. I found reverence defined as a “feeling of profound awe and respect and often love.”

Hebrew 5:7 says… While Jesus was here on earth, he offered prayers and pleadings, with a loud cry and tears, to the one who could rescue him from death. And God heard his prayers because of his deep reverence for God.

Philippians 2:12… Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear.

1 Peter 3:1-3… They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives.

Hebrews 4:16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (Matthew 6:33)
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By now, most people who would listen to this episode of the Almost Daily Devotional have heard about the Ted Williams story.

The original video: http://goo.gl/3itKO
The Interview Video: http://goo.gl/Pfqrd

From the streets of Columbus to baring witness to the year of providence. I love seeing God at work in the life of Ted Williams and I hope that you will join me in praying that he will be able to remain faithful in seeking God first in everything.

Are you acknowledging God Daily?
I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God.” (Luke 12:8 NIV)

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (Matthew 6:33)

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The following are excerpts from Dan Miller’s book “The Rudder of The Day.” The quoted material is used by permission.

Dan’s Podcast – http://www.48days.com/listen
Buy The Book – http://amzn.to/fw00GD

One of our primary needs as human beings is to feel the support of those around us. Ideally, that will mean we are nurtured and encouraged by our nuclear family at first and then by an ever-widening circle of relatives, friends, teachers, etc. Without that support, we tend to be less and less willing to try new things or go down non-traditional paths. Too frequently the gifted artist does not hear, “I really think you can do it” but rather, “You know artists dont’ make any money” or something to that effect. …

Not having someone to lean on, adding other’s fear to his own, the next Bill gates or Thomas Edison settles into the twilight world of could-have-beens and regrets. Without encouragement during the many falls, a baby would never learn to walk. Most business people “fail” 3-4 times before they ultimately find the right business and methods for their success. …

Without the sounding board of and encouragement from those around us, we will gravitate toward very minimal accomplishment. Lack of support leads to minimal effectiveness. That’s why one of the most important characteristics of very successful people is that they spend time with people who are performing at the level at which they want to perform. Find those people in your own life and watch your success soar.

Ecclesiastes 4:10 “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”

Are you looking for relationships with people who will be a source of encouragement to you? I would highly recommend that you consider “Joining The Community” of gspn.tv and start building relationships with the folks that you can find at http://gspncommunity.com.

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Almost Daily Devotional:
Two Are Better

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149 Almost Daily Devotional – Am I Loved?

by Cliff Ravenscraft on February 20, 2010

in Almost Daily Devotional


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Almost Daily Devotional:
Am I Loved?

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Almost Daily Devotional:
Learn From Me

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147 ADD – Return To Your First Love

by Cliff Ravenscraft on December 8, 2009

in Almost Daily Devotional


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Almost Daily Devotional:
Return To Your First Love

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146 ADD – Devote Yourself To Prayer

by Cliff Ravenscraft on September 25, 2009

in Almost Daily Devotional


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Almost Daily Devotional:
Devote Yourself To Prayer

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145 ADD – Contentment And Wealth

by Cliff Ravenscraft on September 23, 2009

in Almost Daily Devotional


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Almost Daily Devotional:
Contentment And Wealth

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144 ADD – We Are Called To Be Free

by Cliff Ravenscraft on September 21, 2009

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Almost Daily Devotional:
We Are Called To Be Free

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Almost Daily Devotional:
Present Your Requests To God

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140 ADD – Lord Willing

by Cliff Ravenscraft on September 10, 2009

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Almost Daily Devotional:
Lord Willing

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139 ADD – Leaving It All Behind

by Cliff Ravenscraft on September 8, 2009

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Almost Daily Devotional:
Leaving It All Behind

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Almost Daily Devotional:
An Original Masterpiece

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137 ADD – EOTC?

by Cliff Ravenscraft on September 1, 2009

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Almost Daily Devotional:
EOTC?

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Almost Daily Devotional:
The Princess With Four Boyfriends

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135 ADD – Not Destroyed

by Cliff Ravenscraft on August 28, 2009

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Almost Daily Devotional:
Not Destroyed

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134 ADD – Seeking Wisdom

by Cliff Ravenscraft on August 26, 2009

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Almost Daily Devotional:
Seeking Wisdom

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