Daily Devotionals

We have gathered several of the better daily devotionals on this page to aid your Quiet Time with the Lord. We also recommend:


THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Are you a good listener? Listen to what Pr 18:13 says about listening. Here are 3 translations:

  • The one who gives an answer before he listens– that is his folly and his shame. -- NET
  • If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.  -- ESV
  • What a shame, what folly, to give advice before listening to the facts! - NLT

A few thoughts on Proverbs 18:13 and the lost art of listening - 

  • As Howard Hendricks says, “Marriage is sometimes the dialogue of the deaf.” 
  • The Harvard Business Review says 65 percent of an executive’s time should be spent listening. 
  • So much more so in our most intimate relationships. 
  • When I’m thinking about an answer while others are talking—I’m not listening.
  • “He who answers before listening—that is his folly and his shame” (Proverbs 18:13).

A wise old owl sat in an oak,
The more he heard, the less he spoke;
The less he spoke, the more he heard;
Why aren’t we all like that wise old bird?

ILLUSTRATION: To illustrate the high cost of poor listening, Diana Bonet, listening consultant and author of The Business of Listening, offers this example: A $100,000 error was caused by a dispatcher who routed a fleet of drivers to deliver building materials to the wrong state. The dispatcher heard the city (Portland), but quit listening before he heard the state (Maine). The result: eight trucks, 3,000 miles away in Portland, Oregon. 

I cried, and from His holy hill
He bowed a listening ear;
I called my Father, and my God,
And He subdued my fear.
—Isaac Watts


Proverbs 18:13 A Way Of Loving

In her book Listening To Others (Hearing their Hearts), Joyce Huggett relates her experiences of listening so that we can respond with wisdom those who are suffering or in difficult situations. She says they often raved about all she had done for them. "On many occasions," she writes, "I had not 'done' anything. I had 'just listened.' I quickly came to the conclusion that 'just listening' was indeed an effective way of helping others."

This was the help that Job's wordy, preachy friends failed to give him. While it is true that they sat with him for 7 days in silence, “for they saw that his grief was very great” (Job 2:13), they didn’t listen when Job started talking. He complained that they were "miserable comforters" (Job 16:2) and was so distraught that he even accused God of not listening. He cried out, "Oh, that I had one to hear me!" (Job 31:35).

Listening says, “What matters to you matters to me.” Sometimes people do want advice. But often they just want to be listened to by someone who loves and cares about them.

What does active listening accomplish? 

  • Listening is a way of loving others. 
  • It says, "I want to understand and know you." 
  • It comforts the brokenhearted, builds relationships, and encourages faith in God. 
  • Listening is also a means of learning the facts. 
  • Solomon, in Proverbs 18:13, warned that it is folly to answer a matter before hearing it.
  • Most of all, listening to others should reflect our attentiveness toward God and His Word. God has so much He wants to teach us and tell us. 

Listening is hard work, and it takes time. It takes time to listen long enough to hear the other person’s true heart, so that if we do speak, we speak with gentle wisdom. Oh, Lord, give us a loving heart and a listening ear. Amen

As you take a moment of stillness today and give Him a listening ear, you'll be better able to listen to the hurting people around you.

A caring heart, a listening ear,
A thoughtful word, a loving tear
Will help to lift the heavy load
Of hurting people on life's road. 
--DJD

You can win more friends with your ears than with your mouth.

Eloquent silence often is better than eloquent speech


Learning to Listen - Renè Descarte, the sixteenth-century philosopher, said, “I think, therefore I am.” Sarah, our granddaughter, says, “You are, therefore I talk.” Silence has never been golden to Sarah. Some years ago I was sitting in our family room trying to read a Time magazine while, at the same time, Sarah was trying to carry on a conversation with me. To my shame I was paying little attention, responding to her comments with an occasional grunt. Finally in exasperation she crawled into my lap and got in my face. “Papa,” she shouted, “are you listening to me?” “Sarah,” I confessed, putting down my magazine, “I haven’t been listening well. Forgive me. I’ll listen to you now.” My commitment to Sarah is one that I want to keep on other occasions as well. It’s one of the gifts “of what remains” that I can give to others—to talk less and listen better. As Frasier Crane would say, “I’m listening”—or, to be more honest, I’m trying to learn how to listen. I want to listen well so that when I finish a conversation, others will walk away knowing there’s at least one person in this care-less world who has some inkling of what they’re doing, thinking, and feeling. I want to hear the hushed undertones of their hearts. I want them to know that I care. Listening, however, doesn’t come easy for me. For years I was paid to talk; I was a “word monger” to borrow Augustine’s apt description of a teacher. It comes as a revelation to me that I can do more with my ears now than I can with my mouth. In her book Listening to Others, Joyce Huggett relates her experiences of listening to suffering people. She says they often talk about all she’s done for them. “On many occasions,” she writes, “I have not ‘done’ anything. I have ‘just listened.’ I quickly came to the conclusion that ‘just listening’ was indeed an effective way of helping others.” This was the help Job’s wordy, would-be friends failed to give him. They were “miserable comforters,” he complained. “‘Oh, that I had someone to hear me!’” Job is not alone in his longing. All human beings want to be heard, and listening is one of the best ways in the world to love others. Listening says, “You matter to me.” (Job 16:2; 31:35)

Kenneth Grahame’s Badger in The Wind in the Willows knew how to do it.

He sat in his arm-chair at the head of the table, and nodded gravely at intervals as the animals told their story; and he did not seem surprised or shocked at anything, and he never said, “I told you so,” or, “Just what I always said,” or remarked that they ought to have done so-and-so, or ought not to have done something else. The Mole began to feel very friendly towards him.

Listening is a lost art these days. We don’t listen well and we aren’t used to being listened to. Most of our words simply disappear into the air. I have a friend who, when he goes to noisy parties and people ask how he’s doing, on occasion has replied quietly, “My business went belly-up this week, the bank foreclosed on my house, my wife left me, and I have terminal cancer.” “Wonderful!” one man murmured, as he pumped my friend’s hand and moved on. I keep wondering if I’ve done something similar to others.

Some years ago I came across the following advice about listening—which I’m still in the process of learning and applying:

• When I’m thinking about an answer while others are talking—I’m not listening.
• When I give unsolicited advice—I’m not listening. (Unsolicited advice always sounds like criticism.)
• When I suggest they shouldn’t feel the way they do—I’m not listening.
• When I apply a quick fix to their problem—I’m not listening.
• When I fail to acknowledge their feelings—I’m not listening.
• When I fidget, glance at my watch, and appear to be rushed—I’m not listening.
• When I fail to maintain eye contact—I’m not listening.
• When I don’t ask follow-up questions—I’m not listening.
• When I top their story with a bigger, better story of my own—I’m not listening.
• When they share a difficult experience and I counter with one of my own—I’m not listening.

Listening is hard work, and most of us are unwilling to put in the time—and time is the operative word. Listening means setting aside our own timetable and tendency to hurry on to our next destination. It means settling into a relaxed, unhurried, leisurely pace. “Only in the ambiance of leisure,” Eugene Peterson writes, “do persons know they are listened to with absolute seriousness, treated with dignity and importance.” In leisure we regard others’ interests as more important than ours (Php 2:3). In leisure we say, “You are more significant than anything I have to do right now. You are the only one who counts, the one for whom I am willing to forgo my other obligations, appointments, and meetings. I have time for you.” In leisure, we listen long enough to hear the other person’s true heart so that if we do speak, we speak with wisdom. A leisurely pace, a listening ear, a loving heart. May you and I, by God’s grace, acquire them. (From David Roper's book Teach Us to Number Our Days)


Pastor Ray Pritchard's advice on Listening - Psychologists talk about “active listening.” That means listening all the way through to the end of a statement. Which is not what most of us do. The reason we don’t hear what the other person is saying is because we are too busy thinking about what we are going to say back to them. Proverbs 18:13 says, “He who answers before listening–that is his folly and shame.” Active listening means you focus on the other person, you listen to the whole statement, you let the meaning of it sink in, then you restate it in your own words.
Here are some tips for active listening:

  • Lean toward the person while they are talking to you.
  • Look directly at them (instead of letting your eyes wander) while they are speaking.
  • Listen with your eyes and ears. Look for non-verbal cues like crossed arms and legs, looking into space, clinched fists, fingers drumming on the table, wide gestures, the forced grin. Those cues usually indicate some level of stress. 
  • Don’t interrupt. Period. Just don’t do it. Don’t finish someone else’s sentences either.
  • Ask clarifying questions. “Could you repeat that? How long have you been feeling that way? What else about that really bothers you? How often do you feel frustrated about the way I act?" 
  • Don’t plan your response while you are listening to them talk.
  • When they are finished, say something like, “Let me see if I can put that in my own words.”

You’ll know you’ve been a successful listener when you can put their thoughts in your words to their satisfaction. After all, the bottom line on listening is not that you think you heard, but that they think you heard.

By the way, did you know that listening is good for your health? Dr. James J. Lynch, a researcher at the University of Maryland, says that “while we speak with words, we also speak with every fiber of our being.” He discovered that blood pressure and heart rate rise rapidly whenever people talk. It also falls rapidly when people listen. For people with a history of hypertension, talking often raises the blood pressure into the danger zone. It happens, he says, because they tend to talk intensely and breathlessly, interrupting and speaking over other people. “They frequently fail to listen; they are on guard, defensive. So their pressure stays up.” Here is his conclusion:
How can we enjoy conversation yet keep blood pressure down? By listening more, by breathing regularly while talking, by alternating between talking and paying attention to what the other person is saying. (Readers Digest, 4/86, p. 124)

A tribute was once paid to a great linguist that he could be silent in seven languages. It’s a wonderful and rare gift. More of us need to use it. Communication begins with listening more.


Read that third line again and ponder how the various actions and attitudes are interrelated. If a blind saint can have this Godward "eyesight", how much more should those of us who can see the majestic mountains, the glorious sunsets, the countless stars, etc?

These devotionals are provided to encourage your daily devotional time reading the "pure milk  of the Word" (1 Peter 2:2+) and are not meant to replace your personal time reading God's "Word of Life" (Philippians 2:16+) and "Word of Truth, the Gospel." (Colossians 1:5+) Our prayer is that you might daily...

Let the word of Christ richly dwell+ within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16+)

For the devotionals below the default is today's date, but you can change the date if you like:

 

 

Daily Light on the Daily Path

September 21

Morning

We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God

The wrath of man shall praise Thee. With a remnant of wrath Thou shalt gird Thyself. --You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good

All things belong to you… the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God --All things are for your sakes, that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Ro 8.28 Ps 76.10--Ge 50.20 1Co3.21, 22, 23--2Co 4.15, 16, 17 Jas 1.2-4

Evening

The fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all

I WILL ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you --He shall not speak of himself. He will not speak on His own initiative… He will disclose to you what is to come. He shall glorify Me for He shall take of Mine and shall disclose it to you

The love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

The one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption --The Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words

2Co 13.14 Jn14.16, 17 Jn 16.13, 14 Ro 5.5 1Co 6.17, 19 Ep 4.30 Ro8.26.

Our Daily Walk by F. B. Meyer

September 21

GOD'S RESOURCES

"Is anything too hard for the Lord?"--- Gen 18:14.

"Ye Lord God! behold, Thou hast made the heaven and the earth by Thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for Thee."-- Jer 32:17.

THERE IS no doubt as to the identification of these three guests that suddenly appeared before the tent-door of Abraham. We are expressly told that "Jehovah appeared unto him." It was thus that our Lord anticipated His Incarnation. He came incognito, and "His delights were with the sons of men" (Pro 8:31). During His earthly life, He loved the homes of men, lodged with Peter and Zacchaeus, and in the dear home where Mary loved and Martha served. After His resurrection, He tarried with two of them in the village inn. So He will come to thy heart and mine. Though He is the High and lofty One, who inhabits Eternity, yet He will plead for admission to sup with us and we with Him (Rev 3:20). But He often comes disguised as a wayfaring man, hungry and athirst. Let us "run to meet Him," remembering Mat 25:40.

God is no man's debtor; He always pays for His lodging, hence His promise to Sarah! She laughed with incredulity, but is anything too hard for the Lord? That is one of God's unanswered questions. It has accosted the human conscience all down the ages. Let us look away from the difficulties imposed by nature, to Him who holds the oceans in the hollow of His Almighty hand. Then we can stand with Him on the mountainside, and plead for Sodom; then God Himself will draw us on to ask for more and yet more, till, when our faith gives out, He will do something far in advance of all that we asked or thought.

PRAYER

Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, World without end. AMEN.

Faith's Checkbook by C. H. Spurgeon

September 21

Let Trials Bless

Knowing that tribulation worketh patience. (Romans 5:3)

This is a promise in essence if not in form. We have need of patience, and here we see the way of getting it. It is only by enduring that we learn to endure, even as by swimming men learn to swim. You could not learn that art on dry land, nor learn patience without trouble. Is it not worth while to suffer tribulation for the sake of gaining that beautiful equanimity of mind which quietly acquiesces in all the will of God?

Yet our text sets forth a singular fact, which is not according to nature but is supernatural. Tribulation in and of itself worketh petulance, unbelief, and rebellion. It is only by the sacred alchemy of grace that it is made to work in us patience. We do not thresh the wheat to lay the dust: yet the Rail of tribulation does this upon God's floor. We do not toss a man about in order to give him rest, and yet so the Lord dealeth with His children. Truly this is not the manner of man but greatly redounds to the glory of our all-wise God.

Oh, for grace to let my trials bless me! Why should I wish to stay their gracious operation? Lord, I ask Thee to remove my affliction, but I beseech Thee ten times more to remove my impatience. Precious Lord Jesus, with Thy cross engrave the image of Thy patience on my heart.

Spurgeon's Morning and Evening

September 21

Morning

“I will rejoice over them to do them good.”

Jeremiah 32:41

How heart-cheering to the believer is the delight which God has in his saints! We cannot see any reason in ourselves why the Lord should take pleasure in us; we cannot take delight in ourselves, for we often have to groan, being burdened; conscious of our sinfulness, and deploring our unfaithfulness; and we fear that God’s people cannot take much delight in us, for they must perceive so much of our imperfections and our follies, that they may rather lament our infirmities than admire our graces. But we love to dwell upon this transcendent truth, this glorious mystery: that as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so does the Lord rejoice over us. We do not read anywhere that God delighteth in the cloud-capped mountains, or the sparkling stars, but we do read that he

delighteth in the habitable parts of the earth, and that his delights are with the sons of men. We do not find it written that even angels give his soul delight; nor doth he say, concerning cherubim and seraphim, “Thou shalt be called Hephzibah, for the Lord delighteth in thee”; but he does say all that to poor fallen creatures like ourselves, debased and depraved by sin, but saved, exalted, and glorified by his grace. In what strong language he expresses his delight in his people! Who could have conceived of the eternal One as bursting forth into a song? Yet it is written, “He will rejoice over thee with joy, he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” As he looked upon the world he had made, he said, “It is very good”; but when he beheld those who are the purchase of Jesus’ blood, his own chosen ones, it seemed as if the great heart of the Infinite could restrain itself no longer, but overflowed in divine exclamations of joy. Should not we utter our grateful response to such a marvellous declaration of his love, and sing, “I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation?”

Evening

“Gather not my soul with sinners.”

Psalm 26:9

Fear made David pray thus, for something whispered, “Perhaps, after all, thou mayst be gathered with the wicked.” That fear, although marred by unbelief, springs, in the main, from holy anxiety, arising from the recollection of past sin. Even the pardoned man will enquire, “What if at the end my sins should be remembered, and I should be left out of the catalogue of the saved?” He recollects his present unfruitfulness—so little grace, so little love, so little holiness, and looking forward to the future, he considers his weakness and the many temptations which beset him, and he fears that he may fall, and become a prey to the enemy. A sense of sin and present evil, and his prevailing corruptions, compel him to pray, in fear and trembling, “Gather not my soul with sinners.” Reader, if you have prayed this prayer, and if your character be rightly described in the Psalm from which it is taken, you need not be afraid that you shall be gathered with sinners. Have you the two virtues which David had—the outward walking in integrity, and the inward trusting in the Lord? Are you resting upon Christ’s sacrifice, and can you compass the altar of God with humble hope? If so, rest assured, with the wicked you never shall be gathered, for that calamity is impossible. The gathering at the judgment is like to like. “Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” If, then, thou art like God’s people, thou shalt be with God’s people. You cannot be gathered with the wicked, for you are too dearly bought. Redeemed by the blood of Christ, you are his for ever, and where he is, there must his people be. You are loved too much to be cast away with reprobates. Shall one dear to Christ perish? Impossible! Hell cannot hold thee! Heaven claims thee! Trust in thy Surety and fear not!

J.H. Jowett's Daily Meditation

September 21

LIFE AS BREAD

Mark 8:10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21.

IT is gracious to know that my Lord is “the Bread of Life,” and that I can feed on Him. It is fearful to know that I, too, am bread, and that others are feeding on me. Am I the nutriment of vice or the sustenance of virtue? Am I an evil leaven, like the Pharisees, or a holy leaven like the Lord? When little children feed on my presence do they grow in strength and beauty? Or do they become relaxed and demoralized? Who will feed upon me to-day, and what will be the end of it?

If I would have my life to be as hallowed and hallowing leaven I must regularly feed upon the Bread of Life. If I am sustained by the Lord, I too shall be a sustainer of all who aspire after a true and holy life. My very character will itself become heavenly bread, and men will be nourished by it even when I am unconscious of the ministry. When they have spent a brief hour in my company they will go away refreshed.

“Lord, evermore give us this bread!” So feed us with Thyself that we may share Thy nature. Let “virtue” go forth from us, and let it be as holy bread to all who are heavy-laden, and ready to faint.

J.R. Miller's Year Book

September 21

"Yes, Lord—but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table!" Matthew 15:27

When Jesus spoke to the poor Gentile woman in the language of the time, as if she were but a 'dog'—she was not offended. She was willing to be as a dog under the Master's table. She was ready to grant to the Jews—the children's place. The position Jesus had assigned to her satisfied her. For the dogs under the table did not starve. The children were first served, and then the pieces of food which they let fall, belonged to the dogs. Even the crumbs from that table were enough for her. Thus her humility and also her faith were shown.

We should come to Christ with a deep sense of our unworthiness, ready to take the lowest place; and we should realize that even the crumbs of his grace and love are better than all the feasts of this world.