First Pres Joliet

A Daily Devotional from our faith community @


July 2015

Not ashamed…


Romans 1:16-17  “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.  For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.””

Devotional thought:  Many believe, as I do, that these verses are a summary of the overall theme of Paul’s letter to the Romans.  Why would this be true?  What do these verses mean to you…for your faith?

Running Your Race


Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)

Hebrews 12:1-3 (The Message) 

Perseverance is easier to think about and talk about, which is fine, than it is to actually live it.  Some things are worth our pursuit and perseverance and other things are not.  Certainly, persevering in the race of faith is worth everything.

Thank God that Jesus persevered in his love and grace for all the world.  Thank God that Jesus suffered even unto death to serve the best purposes of God completely and faithfully.

What are you doing in your life that is worth your perseverance, your very best?  What are you about in your life that the Lord does not want you to quit?

May you persevere with joy as Jesus did.  We can be encouraged by the Lord Jesus, Savior, Suffering-Servant, the Pioneer and Perfecter of Faith.

Mouth Disease

James 3:7-12

The Bible’s pretty hard on people who damage with their words.  Gossip, slander, grumbling, complaining… all those things we’re tired of hearing our kids do but keep doing ourselves. I pray that God would help us to use our words to bring peace rather than pain.

If you have a minute watch this clip, he’s one of my favorite teachers:

If you have fifty minutes watch this clip:

Our biases…


Ephesians 2:8-10     “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Devotional Thought for Today:  It is easy to judge anyone – there are enough faults to go around…seeing someone only through my particular paradigms.  But…living each day and seeing everyone as a child of God, created in His image, while hard to do many times, is what I think we are called to do.  Can we see the homeless…those of different color…those of different ethnicity…those of different political persuasion…those who prefer a different kind of music…those who don’t dress the same as I…you get the point…those different from myself…those different from you.  Seeing individuals first as children of God rather than some other criteria can help me to be more compassionate…more responsive…less judgmental and prejudiced.  What about you?

Give Thanks


Psalm 100 (NIV) 

Psalm 100 (The Message) 

Give thanks to God today. How good it is to belong to the Lord.  Give thanks for his goodness and enduring love.

For what will you express gratitude today?

Make sure you read The Message Translation for a fresh perspective on thanksgiving and joy.  Grace, peace, and joy to you this day!



James 4:13-17

We live in a culture that glorifies success above all things.  As humans, when we succeed we tend to think its because we’re amazing; we boast.  When we fail, we’re convinced that others are to blame; we blame.  James says our boasting (and probably our blame shifting) isn’t how we should deal with our lives.  We need to recognize that in all of this, there’s a healthy dose of God. Maybe the fact that Shelby gets to build a start up company with highly gifted people and I get to teach kids about Jesus and work on my M.Div isn’t because we’re unbelievably gifted people; maybe we’re just blessed.

By way of reminder, our kids are serving all around the Joliet area.  Pray for them and keep up with them at

To be or not to be transformed

Romans 12:1-2

The Message (MSG)

Place Your Life Before God

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Faith and hope…

living with hope web_499x250

“Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy…”  (1 Peter 1:8, NIV)

Doubt…ever have it?  What gets you through your periods of doubt?  Doubt at work…with a friend…in a relationship…etc.  Some say that the disciples had it easy – they had Jesus present with them…well, Thomas still doubted.  How does today’s passage speak about your faith today?  Does your faith lead you to “an inexpressible and glorious joy”?


I Desire Mercy

Matthew 9:9-13New International Version (NIV)

The Calling of Matthew
9 As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’  For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Jesus desires mercy for the unchurched, for notorious sinners.  How will we show mercy today, tomorrow, this week?

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