Daily Devotions for the week
  Everyone needs forgiveness because none of us can say that we are operating in God’s perfect plan for humanity. We can try. We can even convince ourselves that we are doing a pretty good job, but none of us can ever achieve the perfection that God designed for us. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” There are no exceptions. All of us need forgiveness because none of us can obtain complete perfection. God’s word is remarkably simple. Either we are completely perfect or we have sinned. If we have sinned we need a savior and forgiveness. Unfortunately, what God kept simple, humanity complicated. We assigned degrees of severity to sin in hopes of making us feel better about our own brokenness so we could proudly boast ‘At least I’m not as bad as that guy’. The problem lies in the fact that we have not only complicated our sin, we have complicated forgiveness in the process. If we are ever going to be restored to God’s perfect plan for us, we need to start with accepting the simplicity of scripture. Forgiveness is a universal need because sin is a universal epidemic. James 4:17 simplifies sin extraordinarily well. It says, “Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” The need is simple and, thankfully, so is the cure. God promised, in Jeremiah 31:32, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Simple. Speaking of Jesus, Acts 10:43 says, “All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” God’s word gives us the simple cure for sin - believing in Jesus. Why do we make what God designed to be simple into something complicated? Restoration waits for us to simply believe. What are you waiting for? (Written by Keegan Harkins.)   

  Tucked into a second-hand bag, I found a wrinkled and torn note. Expecting to find some great secret or mystery (and hoping it was more than just a crumpled grocery list) I carefully unfolded the worn paper. At the top, in beautiful and delicate handwriting, were written the words: “Discipline isn’t revenge – it’s restoration”. Underneath those almost hopeful words, added to over time in different ink and sometimes hurried letters, a list of numbers and recorded sin. At the very bottom of this page was written: “Age 55, minimum of 20,075 sins”. I wish I could speak to the tortured soul who wrote those words. I wish I could share with them Psalm 130:3-4, “If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness.” I would remind them that God is the very definition of love. And I would read to them 1 Corinthians 13:4-5, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” We do not need to remind ourselves of every time we stumble or fall. Why should we when God does not. Proverbs 3:12 tells us, “The Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in.” As a parent, I discipline my son to enforce the lesson and encourage better choices. God, the perfect parent, disciplines us because He wants us to know the difference between right and wrong. He, like our earthly parents, lovingly shows us the right way to live and discipline is a tool by which He shapes us into our best versions of ourselves. No amount of ‘discipline’ pays the price for our sins any more than it could possibly make me love my own children more. My children do not need to earn my love and we, as God’s children, certainly don’t. We don’t need to keep a tally record of our sins and acts of penance. God’s gift of salvation costs US nothing. We cannot earn it. We cannot repay it. Jesus paid the price as a loving gift to a wayward child. God doesn’t keep a record of our sin because there could never be a list longer than His grace. If God remembers our sins no more, why would we ever want to carry them? Our forgiveness is absolute – complete. As Jesus paid the sacrifice for sin he declared, “It is finished.” (John 19:30). Accept the freedom of a debt paid in full because God keeps no record of our wrongs! (Written by Keegan Harkins.)  

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God- Ephesians 3:19 The next most important thing after salvation is knowledge. Now, you have come to a knowledge of your reconciliation with Christ, you need to know what that reconciliation has done for you. You need to know how the sacrifice of Christ directly affects you. You need to know who you are now in Christ.
The apostle Paul prayed this prayer for the Church at Ephesus that they would know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge. That is, beyond head knowledge, you need a heart knowledge of the love of Christ. Beyond a mental assent, you need a revelation knowledge of the love of Christ.
And what benefit is that to you? The text goes on to say,…”that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” Having a revelation knowledge of the love of Christ leads you to be conscious that you are full of God. The heart knowledge of the love of Christ leads you to be conscious of God. 
Friend, you can personalize this prayer and spend more time studying the Epistles. You will find that by the day, you will grow in your knowledge of the love of Christ. You are blessed. God loves you. Yes, you! (Written by Daniel Emmanuel.)

One way we receive more in life is by giving away more. This Kingdom principle may be hard for some believers to fully embrace. The concern is that if they keep giving to others they will lack enough for themselves. That mindset seems logical. But God does not want us to focus on holding on to everything we get.
In this regard, the Bible makes a profound statement: “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty” (Proverbs 11:24, NIV).
This biblical principle reveals an important truth about God. His reason for blessing us is not just to bless us. Rather, it is to the intent that He can use us as a vehicle to bless others. Based on the verse above, when we freely give a portion of what we receive from God, the net effect is that He blesses us to receive more.  
Let me be quick to add that the verse above does not denounce saving and making wise investments. But it does speak against being overly self-serving. This idea goes against the grain of our culture. We live in a world where self-aggrandizement is idolized. Life is all about “me, myself, and I.” Such thinking is worlds apart from God’s way, however. In Him, we receive more by giving more of what we receive from Him. (Written by Frank King.)

 Sometimes, we may feel that God is very far away. Sometimes, we feel too small to be important to God’s master plan. We doubt that our life would be missed or noticed at all. Sometimes, feelings lie, and doubts deceive us to the truth. Luke 15:10 records Jesus saying, “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” One sinner. Every sinner. Every life causes rejoicing, even the life of the ordinary, the quiet, the uncelebrated on this earth. If I could be given just one wish it would be for you to see yourself through Heaven’s eyes. All those moments of doubt would wither in the profound and absolute truth of the depth of God’s love for each and every one of us. One day, we will hear the angels rejoicing. We will see the celebration when into His kingdom we enter for all eternity. One day we will leave all doubt and worry behind and feel, know, and see, the tender care God has for each of us. For now, let us hold on to the truth of God’s word. Let us rejoice with the angels over the life of even the most vile or quiet sinner who comes home. And let us never doubt the nearness of our Savior. Instead, let us join in with David when he said, “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord for He has been good to me.” (Psalm 13:5-6) One day we will see what today we can know - - God’s love flows deeper than every ocean, stronger than any wind, an eternal love that notices and rejoices in each of our lives. (Written by Keegan Harkins.)  

  Outside my window, the snow lies about two feet deep all around. The roads are icy and dangerous to walk on. The temperature when I bundled my children up for school was below freezing and bitter. But, as I sit, looking out my window, I hear the sound of birds singing. Today is the first day they have sat on my barren tree in months. They seem completely oblivious to the freezing snow twinkling in the sunlight just below their tiny feet. They busy themselves with fluttering and singing. To look out my window, you would never know spring was near, but the birds know. By some unseen force, they return at the end of winter and prepare for warm weather.  Our eyes may tell us that it is still winter, still harsh and lonely, but spring is coming. Let us be like the tiny birds announcing the coming of sun, new birth and the explosions of color and life. Our situation may appear to be bleak and hopeless, but we know it will not stay that way. Psalm 121:1-2 reminds us, “I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Look up from the snow. Look up from the pain, the trial, the mundane. Look up to the Maker of heaven and earth and smile. Smile because, like spring, your salvation comes. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4) The valley won’t last forever – neither will winter. Look up. Listen to the sound of the birds and smile. God is doing a new thing. Are you ready? (Written by Keegan Harkins.)