Today Devotional – Remain


By Julia Prins Vanderveen — Saturday, April 24, 2021

Scripture Reading:  John 15:1-17

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. . . .” John 15:4

We have grapevines in our backyard, and we often need to cut back the tendrils—threadlike spirals that help the plant attach to supports while it climbs. When we have cut the tendrils, we notice two things: moisture steadily drips from the vine where we made the cut, and the cut-off tendrils begin to wilt right away.

In our reading for today, Jesus describes something similar. He describes himself as a vine, and he says we are like the vine’s branches. This is a way of communicating the intimate connection between us and Christ. He is the source, and whoever remains in him will bear the fruit of his love. But if we do not remain in him, we will be like a branch cut off by the gardener, and we will quickly wither and die.

Jesus gives us this illustration while he is talking about our top priority in living for God in this world—that is, to love one another as he has loved us, and to share his love with everyone around us. As we do that, we bear good fruit for the world to enjoy—and all of this is for God’s glory. Jesus also says that in this world we will face troubles, but because we remain in him, we need not be afraid. The message is clear: we cannot control the outcome of anything, but God is in control—so we don’t need to live in fear about what might happen. We can simply remain in him, and we can see what he will do in and through us.

Loving Lord, where would we be without your presence? Thank you for every breath and for every good thing we receive through you. Help us to remain in you. In your name, Amen.

//Reframe Ministries//

Today Devotional – Loved and Forgiven

Loved and Forgiven By Julia Prins Vanderveen — Sunday, April 25, 2021

Scripture Reading: Luke 19:1-10

[Zacchaeus] ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

Luke 19:4 Earlier this month, we read about Gideon, who was called out from under a tree to serve God in a special role (Judges 6). In this story, another unlikely man is called—but, in this case, Zacchaeus was up in a tree! This story captures the imaginations of children and adults because of the delightfully humorous picture of a short man clambering up a tree to see over the heads of other people as Jesus passes by.

We should pay attention to the immediate relationship Jesus begins with Zacchaeus. Notice also the muttering of the people who pass judgment on both Zacchaeus and Jesus. Nothing is said about Zacchaeus and Jesus’ response to the hostility of the crowd. Instead, we see how Zacchaeus and Jesus demonstrate vulnerability and hospitality and how Jesus makes space for repentance and forgiveness.

How does this story speak to you? Do you identify with Zacchaeus, having done wrong and having often been overlooked? Do you identify with the muttering crowd, who are on the lookout for the mistakes of others? Do you identify with Jesus, who looks over the crowd and sees people for who they really are: found, loved, and celebrated?

For every one of us, everywhere, let’s pray that Jesus will look up and call us from our perches and invite us to spend time with him. He will make things right in our lives so that we can extend compassion to anyone we may have misunderstood or taken advantage of along the way.

Lord Jesus, invite us to come and walk with you. Show us how to live as your fully loved and forgiven children. Amen.
//Reframe Ministries//

Today Devotional – Looking for Fruit

Looking For Fruit
By Julia Prins Vanderveen — Friday, April 23, 2021

Scripture Reading: Mark 11:12-25

Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit.

Mark 11:13This story is baffling, isn’t it? It seems that Jesus, who is known for showing love and compassion, gets upset and just destroys an innocent fig tree. And this happens just before Jesus turns over the tables of corrupt moneychangers in the temple. There must be a connection.

In the Old Testament, the imagery of people being able to sit in the shade of their own fig tree was a common symbol of peace (1 Kings 4:25; Micah 4:4; Zechariah 3:10). Fruit-bearing fig trees were also a symbol of blessing for God’s people.

But when the people ignored God, the prophets compared them to fig trees that were not bearing good fruit. God’s people were supposed to be reaching out, caring for others, and helping with others’ needs, but instead they were being selfish, growing rich off the work of others, and taking advantage of systems that were intended to help others.

When a fig tree was in leaf, that usually meant it had fruit already. But Jesus found none. So he cursed it as a sign that God would also bring judgment on his corrupt people. The leaders of God’s people had let corruption creep in. They charged high exchange rates and outrageous prices for travelers and needy people who were at the temple to celebrate the Passover holiday.

Jesus was saying to the leaders, “You are only putting on a show. You are nothing but leaves, and you have no fruit!” He wanted the people to provide not only shady leaves but also the sweet, abundant fruit of compassion and justice.

Lord, call us to account when our lives don’t bear the fruit of your Spirit. Guide us to live in step with Jesus. Amen

//Reframe Ministries//

Daily Devotion – Partners in Victory

“Moses’ hands were heavy … Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set.” – Exodus 17:12-13 NASB

Joshua led Israel’s army against the Amalekites. And Moses communicated God’s strategy and became a symbol of His presence. As long he held up his hands, “Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed” (v. 11).

But victory would not have been possible without the help of Aaron and Hur, two men who did not lift a sword or slay one enemy soldier. But Israel was victorious because these men fulfilled their assigned roles.

While Moses stood with God’s staff in his hand, the Israelites were victorious. Then, as the day wore on, his strength faded. That is when Aaron and Hur stepped in. Their task: to support Moses’ hands. This might sound trivial, but without this support, the battle could not have been won.

As we look at the work of ministry, we need to realize that, just as in the days of Moses, Christians need to work together as partners. There are many roles to play, and every person, every role is important. God’s army needs prayer warriors and teachers, encouragers, and administrators. He needs believers who will sacrifice and give to support the Gospel.

Remember, you have a vital role to play. The tasks and  skills you’ve been given are important. God has given you special gifts, talents, and special assignments. Make sure you are doing the work He called you to do.


Father, I commit my life to You. Show me the tasks You’ve given me to do. I dedicate my time, talents, and treasures to You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Extended Reading

Exodus 17

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Daily Devotion – Daily Time with God

“He shall burn it every morning … When Aaron sets up the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense. There shall be perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations.” – Exodus 30:7-9 NASB

One of Aaron’s primary responsibilities as a priest was to take care of the lamps set before God. He was assigned to trim them not occasionally or often, but twice each day – every morning and evening. God wanted these lamps to burn constantly and as brightly as possible. Aaron had other duties that would keep him busy. He easily could have been distracted. But he never could forget the lamps.

While central to his ministry, this assignment also an important part of his personal life. This was a daily reminder to focus on God, to think about His Word, to evaluate his own heart and priorities, and to make sure He was serving Him faithfully.

These principles still apply to each believer. Every day, we each have many options about how we spend our time and what we do with our resources. How easily we can focus on our jobs or hobbies, our interests or families, world events or the news, even religious activities instead of on spiritual matters.

But the assignment given to Aaron reminds us why it is important to begin and end every day with God, to read His Word, to pray and spend time with Him, and to seek to be attuned to His Spirit.

Don’t ignore your “lamp,” but seek to make your testimony burn brightly. Spend quality time with God. Dedicate your life to Him. Seek to please Him and faithfully serve Him.


Father, I seek to serve You. Purge anything that displeases You. Forgive my sins. Help me burn brightly for You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Extended Reading

Exodus 30

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Daily Devotion – An Anointed Life

“The holy garments of Aaron shall be for his sons after him, so that they may be anointed and ordained in them.” – Exodus 29:29 NASB

As God called men to serve as priests, He wanted them to realize that this was no ordinary position. This was serious. They needed to realize that they were being called to be His representatives.

In this position, He was not just interested in their words and actions. Even their garments were consecrated and holy, symbols of God Himself. And each priest was to wash and be cleansed before putting on these garments.

Aaron and his sons were the first to wear these special garments. But these were not personal possessions. They were to be passed down from generation to generation. Each man would be reminded of his heritage and his special responsibility to represent God.

Sadly, throughout the years, some failed to take these responsibilities seriously. We think of the sons of Eli, “worthless men” who used their position for their own benefit (1 Samuel 2:12-17).

These same principles apply today to every part of our lives. God gives each person unique gifts and resources. We all have a special calling to serve Him. We are to remember that He blesses us that we might bless others. And He calls us to be good stewards of His gifts.

Remember that you are God’s servant. Remember His special calling for you. Commit your life to fulfill this calling. Seek to serve Him faithfully with the resources He gives you. And seek to bring Him glory!

Father, thank You for Your calling. Help me to be faithful. I commit my life to You. Use me for Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Extended Reading: Exodus 29

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Daily Devotion – Clarity

“Moses went up with Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself.” – Exodus 24:9-10 NASB

This was a special moment when Israel’s leaders would have a personal encounter with God Himself. These men needed to be prepared. They understood His nature and realized that He is holy, and He could not be approached as a regular person.

In this special moment, “a pavement of sapphire” played a critical role. This was a unique material with characteristics important to God and His interaction with men and women.

This material was “clear as the sky itself.” The presence of sapphire enabled these men to see God with clarity, so there could be no question of what they saw. This sapphire demonstrated that He wanted them to know Him and understand His nature. They were to realize that they could have a personal relationship with Him. But they had to approach Him the right way.

Sapphire was used in similar ways elsewhere in the Bible. It was used to describe the throne of God (Ezekiel 10:1) and was a key part of the foundation of the new Jerusalem seen in John’s vision (Revelation 21:19).

The presence of sapphire reminds us of the importance of clarity for believers today. God wants us to see Him clearly, to know Him with complete transparency. He wants us to accurately understand His Word.

Ask God to deepen your personal relationship with Him, to know Him more intimately, and to understand Him more completely.


Father, help me to know You more clearly, to understand Your Word, and to serve You more faithfully. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Extended Reading

Exodus 24

//Inspiration Ministries//

Daily Devotion – Our Plans vs. God’s Plans

“The plans of the heart belong to a person, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord … The mind of a person plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” – Proverbs 16:1, 9 NASB

The Bible encourages us to plan but also warns that the planning process has limits. In fact, in the space of a few verses, Proverbs provides two perspectives on planning, using two different Hebrew words.

First, the “plans of the heart” do belong to us. The Hebrew word here refers to making arrangements and preparing. It can be easy to try to arrange our plans based on our thoughts and desires to achieve the results we want.

But the Bible reveals that God wants us to realize that our understanding has limits. We can make plans without seeking Him or considering His insights. Ultimately, we must trust Him to guide us.

The second kind of plan involves weaving or fabricating, as we seek to weave events together to produce the outcome we desire. But in the end, we must realize that God directs our steps. We can be frustrated unless we depend upon Him. We must realize that all our efforts are futile without His blessing.

Today, remember that God gave you His Word to be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path (Psalm 119:105). He is with you, right now – ready to give you wisdom. Seek to be a good steward, wisely using the time and opportunities He provides. Always remember the limits of your plans. In the end, trust Him to direct your path.


Father, I commit these projects to You: _______. I seek Your plans. I trust You. Give me Your peace. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Extended Reading

Proverbs 16

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Daily Devotion – Deepest Longing

“O God, You are my God; with deepest longing I will seek You; My soul [my life, my very self] thirsts for You, my flesh longs and sighs for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” – Psalm 63:1 AMP

Considering his situation, David felt hopeless. He was outnumbered and overwhelmed with problems. Writing this psalm in the wilderness of Judah, he felt alone, without any sense that help was on the way. He was “in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

It would have been easy to give up. Instead, he determined to seek God with intensity and a sense of desperation. His heart was full of emotion. He was so desperate that his soul thirsted for God. His flesh longed for Him, eager to see His power and glory. David realized that God’s lovingkindness was better than life itself. So, He praised God, lifting his hands in His name.

Looking at your life, you might face similar situations. Does it feel that you are in a dry and thirsty land? Does it appear that there are no solutions to your problems? Do you feel alone and hopeless? Discouraged? Frustrated? Uncertain of where to turn?

Following David’s example, these are times to focus on God with renewed determination. Thirst for His presence. Seek His presence with urgency. Pray with passion. Hunger for His Word as you would crave food if you had not eaten for days.

In your desperation, worship Him. Lift your hands in His name. His lovingkindness is better than life. Seek Him. Trust Him. Praise Him for what He will do in your life.


Father, You are my only hope. I cry out for Your help. Thank You that I can trust in You. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Extended Reading

Psalm 63

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Daily Devotion – Healing

If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments … I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer.” – Exodus 15:26 NASB

It is a message confirmed throughout the Bible: God desires us to be in health (3 John 1:2). This fact was central to the ministry of Jesus, who healed all who were brought to Him, including those with every kind of illness (Matthew 4:24). God Himself told the Israelites that He was their healer and gave them principles to help prevent sickness. But there were conditions.

First, they had to listen carefully to Him. He created strict dietary and living guidelines for the Israelites. And He knows that our lifestyles and habits are important. He can help us make the right choices, so our bodies work more efficiently.

Second, they were to “do what is right in his sight.” We cannot expect His blessing if we go our own way. We must pay attention to his commands, be sensitive to Him, and know His Word. And we need to “keep all His statutes” (v. 26). Realize that His Word gives principles by which to live to help us have health.

Make sure that you follow God’s formula for health. Declare the truths found in His Word, and put them into practice. Develop an intimate relationship with Him. Seek to be pure in His sight. Trust Him for health, rejoicing that He is the “the Lord who heals you” (v. 26 NKJV). And pray with confidence and faith for those you know who need healing.


Father, these are people who need healing: ______. Thank You for healing in their lives. Help me to live in health. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Extended Reading

Exodus 15

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