Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Check Points-1

This is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things which must happen soon, which he sent and made known by his angel to his servant, John, who testified to God's word, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, about everything that he saw. (Revelation 1:1, 2)

The Apostle John was faithful to God in what he was entrusted with.
He testified to God's word and made known his testimony of Jesus Christ. How about you? How's your testimony?
Evaluate yourself today. Be a faithful witness of the Lord.

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Sunday, September 27, 2015

New Testament- Lesson 133

Matthew Chapter 19- Part 3C

A rich young man, the rich and salvation, temporal and eternal rewards- Read (Matthew 19:16-29) (Mark 10:17-30) (Luke 18:18-30)

To Peter's question as to what would be their (disciples) gains for having left everything and followed him, Jesus spoke about eternal and temporal rewards. Jesus promised his disciples that when God restores the order of all things (as we read in Revelation 21), they would be given prominent positions; they would he highly honored and respected. The twelve tribes of Israel could mean "all of God's redeemed people." "Judging" would not mean literal judging, but being esteemed among the redeemed. The word "regeneration" here means "new birth" or "renewal" or "restoration".

For those who have left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or land, for Jesus' sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will receive one hundred times (manifold) now in this time, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land, (Mark adds "with persecutions"). By this Jesus meant, that the loss of personal relationship with family members would be compensated by God giving the sacrificing believer many more spiritual relationships. In earthly terms, persecutions would not be counted as a reward, but Jesus said, "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:10)

Finally, Jesus ended by saying, "But many who are first will be last ; and those that are last will be first." In this context, where Jesus is dealing with "the rich who trust in their riches", it means that the rich of the world, who are considered first by the world, had yet to get on the path to eternal life, because of their love for riches (they became last), while the disciples who are poor and considered of no worth or last by the world, had gained access to heaven and were well on their way to inherit eternal life (they became first).

Words Of Jesus Devotionals-53

Devotionals From Ecclesiastes-53

365 Blessings- Devotional 53

Start Your Day Right-37

Start Your Day Right-38

Saturday, September 26, 2015

New Testament- Lesson 132

Matthew Chapter 19- Part 3B

A rich young man, the rich and salvation, temporal and eternal rewards- Read (Matthew 19:16-29) (Mark 10:17-30) (Luke 18:18-30)

Jesus here tells the man who called him "Good teacher", that there is a great difference between man's standard of goodness and God's standard of goodness and from his view point when comparing humans with God, God alone is good, for all goodness flows from God to his creation.
The rich man drew Jesus in to a conversation and Jesus told him what the Law required for one to gain eternal life and he answered that he had complied with all that since long. He persisted in questioning Jesus as to what he lacked even though he was keeping all the commandments, implying that he still did not believe that he would inherit eternal life because of all that he was doing. So Jesus told him what it was that hindered him from being sure of his salvation. It was his love for his riches. That exceeded his love for God and it had to be put away. Jesus said, "One thing you lack; If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me, taking up the cross." But when the young man heard that, he went away sad, for he had great possessions. Sadly this is true in every generation; people love the one true God and desire to follow him, but cannot give up their love for riches and some hoard it to a great extent, living with fear and insecurity.

Jesus did not say that the rich would not enter the Kingdom of Heaven; what he said was, "It is hard for those who trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God." Jesus spoke a proverb here to express an impossibility. The Talmud (a central text of Rabbinic Judaism) gives the parallel phrase of an elephant passing through a needle’s eye. In some Syrian cities, the narrow gate for foot-passengers, at the side of the larger gate by which wagons, camels and other beasts of burden enter is known as the “needle’s eye,” and if a camel had to go through the needle's eye gate, it had to bend it's neck low and it's body as well, which would become a difficult and often impossible task for the animal.

When the disciples heard that it was hard for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God, they were astonished and said, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus replied, "With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." Salvation is a gift of God. We can work towards the salvation of a person, but it's the work of the Holy Spirit of God that accomplishes the task.

To be next lesson


Once when I lived in a rented house, though the owners were kind to me, the person who was looking after the house when the owners had gone abroad was always seeking an opportunity to make us leave the place because of vested interests.

I happened to know this because the Lord would show me a dream regarding this each time the fellow planned evil against us. Every time I would pray to the Lord not to allow his tricks to work.

When the Lord started showing me several dreams regarding his plans, I developed a dislike for the man and I changed my prayers. I started praying that the Lord should instead send that fellow away from that place. Some sort of hatred developed inside of me because outwardly he pretended to be kind but was scheming secretly.

Finally when the Lord had been repeatedly showed me these dreams, I asked the Lord, "I have been praying all along about this, why you don’t do something?"

The Holy Spirit spoke to me at that moment and said, "Love your enemies, do good to those who persecute you".

I understood that my attitude as a Christian towards this man was wrong. So I confessed my sin to God and decided to do something good for this man for all the wrong that he was doing. I had a brand new shaving set with me and I decided to present him that. That same day when I met him, I presented that set to him. He looked surprised and thanked me. Because of the act, I found great peace in my heart. I was happy that I had obeyed the voice of the Holy Spirit.

The Lord was pleased too and I know it for sure because in 2 days, he sent the fellow away from that place, no more to trouble us.

The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. He observes the sons of men; his eyes examine them. (Psalm 11:4)

From my book 

Dreams, Visions, The Still Small Voice & Miracles

Friday, September 25, 2015

New Testament- Lesson 131

Matthew Chapter 19- Part 3A
A rich young man, the rich and salvation, temporal and eternal rewards- Read (Matthew 19:16-29) (Mark 10:17-30) (Luke 18:18-30)
A young man (Luke writes a certain ruler) came to Jesus, kneeled and said, "Good teacher, what good thing must I do, that I may have eternal life?" Jesus said, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments." He asked, "Which ones?" and Jesus said, "You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not offer false testimony. Honor your father and mother and you shall love your neighbor as yourself." The young man replied, "All these things I have observed from my youth. What do I still lack?" Jesus said to him (Mark writes Jesus looking at him loved him), "One thing you lack; If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me, taking up the cross." But when the young man heard that, he went away sad, for he had great possessions. 
Jesus said to his disciples, "Most assuredly I say to you, it is difficult for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus answered again, "Children, how hard is it for those who trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God."When the disciples heard it, they were astonished and said, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus replied, "With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." 
Then Peter said, "We have left everything, and followed you. What then will we have?" Jesus said, "Most assuredly I tell you, that you who have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on the throne of his glory, you also will sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  Everyone who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or land, for my sake, and for the gospel's sake, will receive one hundred times now in this time, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land, with persecutions; and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last ; and those that are last will be first.
To be next lesson

Words Of Jesus Devotionals-52

Start Your Day Right-36

Start Your Day Right-35

Devotionals From Ecclesiastes-52

365 Blessings- Devotional 52

Monday, September 14, 2015

New Testament- Lesson 130

Matthew Chapter 19- Part 2

Jesus blesses little children- Read (Matthew 19:13-15) (Mark 10:13-16) (Luke 18:15-17)

Little children (infants/babes) were brought to Jesus that he might lay his hands on them and pray for them, but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. When Jesus saw it, he was displeased and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven." Mark and Luke add Jesus saying, "Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter it."

Jesus then took the little children up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
It was a custom of Jewish mothers to carry their little ones to eminent Rabbis for their blessing and thus they brought them to Jesus, who had been teaching them as one with authority telling them great truths of the Kingdom of Heaven and healing their sicknesses and demonic afflictions. The disciples rebuked the parents for the same. Perhaps, on the spur of the moment, they decided to have exclusive rights to approaching their Master. Right before this happened, Jesus spoke on how some live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and this might have suddenly changed the way they thought about their Master, elevating him to an unapproachable level, though he himself remained with a servant attitude. Another cause must be that the disciples considered bringing little children to Jesus as a trivial intrusion, when great things were happening.

Jesus was displeased with the attitude of the disciples and opened the way for the parents to bring their children to him and he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them, reminding all that, they had to be like little children in their receiving the kingdom of God, if they desired to enter it. Innocence, simple acceptance, clinging trust are qualities that define little children.

365 Blessings- Devotional 50

Words Of Jesus Devotionals-50

Start Your Day Right-32

Start Your Day Right-31

Devotionals From Ecclesiastes-50

Thursday, September 10, 2015

New Testament- Lesson 129

Matthew Chapter 19- Part 1

Jesus' Teaching on Divorce- Read (Matthew 19:3-12) (Mark 10:1-12)

When Jesus came to Judea, the Pharisees came to test him and asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason?" Jesus answered quoting Genesis 1:27, "Have you not read that he who made them at the beginning, made them male and female" and also Genesis 2:24, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh"; so then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate. The Pharisees again asked, "Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?" He said to them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so." Whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced, commits adultery." His disciples said, "If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry." Jesus answered, "All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: For there are eunuchs who were born so from their mother's womb, there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven."

There were 2 schools of thought regarding the interpretation of Deuteronomy 24:1-4 which spoke of divorce. The Shammai school interpreted Deut. 24:1 (something indecent) as sexual immorality to be the cause for divorce, while the Hillel school taught that a man could divorce his wife if she did anything that was not pleasing to him. Jesus pointed to God's original plan and then affirmed the Shammai teaching on the matter.

The disciples then presented Jesus with a radical solution to the matter...."If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry." Jesus answered that, that was not an acceptable solution for all. He spoke of exceptions though....them who are born as eunuchs, others who undergo castration for any reason and finally those who choose to live as eunuchs or practice celibacy, so that they can give themselves completely to God's work.

Words Of Jesus Devotionals-49

Start Your Day Right-30

Devotionals From Ecclesiastes-49

Start Your Day Right-29

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

New Testament- Lesson 128

Matthew Chapter 18- Part 7

Jesus teaches about forgiveness- Read Matthew 18:21-35

Peter asked Jesus, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" Jesus said to him, "Not seven times, but up to seventy times seven. Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. When he began to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and he paid it all. The servant fell down before him and said, "Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all." The master was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, "Pay me what you owe!" His fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, "Have patience with me, and I will pay you all." But he went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had happened. When his master had summoned the servant whom he had forgiven his debt, he said to him, "You wicked servant! I forgave you all your debt because you implored me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?" Then his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he paid all that was due to him. So my heavenly Father will also do to each of you, if from your heart, you do not forgive your brother his trespasses."

Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to a compassionate king who forgave a great debt of one of his servants. A fellow servant of this servant who owed a small sum to this servant was treated very harshly and when the king knew about the matter, he punished the wicked servant for not being kind and forgiving. He was delivered to the torturers. Jesus ended his teaching on forgiveness by saying, "So my heavenly Father will also do to each of you, if from your heart, you do not forgive your brother his trespasses." This would mean that those who harbour unforgiveness in their hearts would have to suffer punishment from the Father and that is a reality in the lives of many.

God the Father has forgiven our great debt of sin, through the atoning sacrifice of his son, Jesus Christ. He expects the forgiven, to forgive others, the smaller debts of sin done against them.

Start Your Day Right-28

Start Your Day Right-27

Words Of Jesus Devotionals-48

Devotionals From Ecclesiastes-48

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

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New Testament- Lesson 127

Matthew Chapter 18- Part 6

Where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them.(Matthew 18:20)

Is it not possible for a person to pray or worship or meditate on God's Word alone and feel God's presence? Yes, definitely; yet here, Jesus says that "where two or three are gathered together in his name, he is there in the midst of them." Perhaps, he was pointing to a notion prevalent  among the Jews that at least 10 were to be gathered to be a congregation. Not needed, Jesus seemed to imply by his statement.

Ubi tres, ibi Ecclesia (“Where three are, there is a church”) is a well known patristic axiom- (Patristic means-of or relating to the church fathers or their writings; axiom  means established or accepted statement)

At any moment of time, any place in the world, where two or three are gathered in Jesus' name, he is in their midst. Christ's omnipresence and omniscience is so very evident in his statement and it provides great comfort to those who believe.
Jesus' promise stays true through the centuries, despite major changes in culture, technology, politics and other factors that tend to change over time.

365 Blessings- Devotional 49

Start Your Day Right-26

Words Of Jesus Devotionals-47

Devotionals From Ecclesiastes-47

Sunday, September 6, 2015

New Testament- Lesson 126

Matthew Chapter 18- Part 5

Agreeing in Prayer-
"If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven." (Matthew 18:19)

Praying alone, praying in two's and praying as a congregation are all effective and brings answers from heaven. Yet, Jesus, who himself often detached temporarily from his disciples and prayed alone to the Father, here proclaims that...If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. So what's the mystery?

When a person prays alone, most often his/her prayers are directed towards his/her needs. Some of such prayers tend to border on the selfish. But an immediate change comes when two different persons get together in prayer. The needs then are addressed regarding the other person in the presence of the Father. Each one praying for the other brings about encouragement and edification too. Burdens are lightened by the thought that there is someone to pray to the Father on one's behalf. This effect is multiplied when a whole congregation prays together for a needy soul. Also, sometimes, one may be so distressed, so as not being able to pray and in such situations, when another prays a fervent prayer, the burdens are lightened immediately. The fruit of the Spirit is increased too as we pray for and with another, as we are loosing the great virtues of love, compassion and mercy in to the lives of others. James writes in his epistle, "Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed...(James 5:16)

Encouragement, edification, healing, effective burden bearing, fruit bearing, miracles; all these result from prayers prayed together in unity and with humility.
3 important things need to be addressed here, regarding Jesus' statement- "If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven"
1. Now this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us. (1 John 5:14)- Asking should be according to the Father's will.
2. Whatever we ask, we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. (1 John 3:22)- A Scripture directed living is needed.
3. The answer can be immediate or after a while- It's God's time.

Finally, the context in which Jesus speaks this is the disciplining of an erring member of Church and if taken in that context, it says that, the Father in heaven will answer prayers concerning this issue when two agree regarding the matter.

365 Blessings- Devotional 48

Words Of Jesus Devotionals-46

Devotionals From Ecclesiastes-46

Start Your Day Right-25

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Saturday, September 5, 2015

New Testament- Lesson 124 & 125

Matthew Chapter 18- Part 4

How to deal with "brother sinning against brother" in a Church setting-

Jesus taught,  "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that "by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.' and if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. If he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." (Matthew 18:15-18)

When Jesus taught this precept, there was no Church as yet, but there was the Jewish community and also Jesus' group of 12 disciples and other disciples who followed him regularly. Here was a simple yet definitive plan given by Jesus to deal with a brother (or sister) who is sinning against another brother (or sister) in a Church setting. Sinning here, may be with regard to words or deeds. "Gained your brother" means having saved your relationship with your brother or sister. Often this plan is overlooked by many due to ignorance of the Word of God or due to disregard and many problems ensue. Some seek revenge; some keep a grudge against the offender and breed bitterness; others skip the 1st and 2nd steps and openly spread the harm done by the brother or sister to the Church from the start and more harm is done than good.

The third step is a public announcement of the offence to the Church after the first and second steps have been exercised and have failed. Should the sinning brother/sister persist in his sin, the Church could then excommunicate him as the final step. It would do great harm to a Church to keep a unrepentant, willfully sinning brother or sister.

As time passed and different denominations came in to existence, those leading the Churches often kept the congregation in the dark regarding offences occurring in the Church and the 4 step plan of Jesus was sidelined. Peter the Apostle writes (1 Peter 5:1-3) that leaders are not to be Lords over those entrusted to them, but shepherd the flock of God, being examples to them.

How to deal with "brother sinning against brother" in a Church setting- Continued from last lesson.
Jesus taught,  "If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that "by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.' and if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. If he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." (Matthew 18:15-18)

Jesus ended his 4 step strategy of dealing with a sinning member in a Church by stating- "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven"..... which meant that whatever decision taken justly by the Church was binding on the person (unrepentant member) concerned. It would be agreed upon in heaven too.
But there's more to the statement- Binding and loosing in a Church setup could have major implications if looked at from the Savior's point of view. If the fruit of the Spirit as mentioned in Galatians 5:22, 23 (love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) was kept bound by Church members, the Church would suffer greatly with dullness and dreariness setting in sooner or later despite worship, prayer and the Word being preached. On the other hand, if these qualities were loosed in to the Church by it's members, it would result in a vibrant, joyous,  Spirit filled and abundant fruit bearing Church.

365 Blessings- Devotional 47

Devotionals From Ecclesiastes-45

Start Your Day Right-24

Words Of Jesus Devotionals-45

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Thursday, September 3, 2015

New Testament- Lesson 123

Matthew Chapter 18- Part 3

The Parable of the Lost Sheep- Read (Matthew 18:11-14)(Luke 15:1-7)

Once the tax collectors and the sinners came to Jesus to hear him. When the Pharisees and scribes saw this, they complained, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." Jesus then spoke a parable: "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the mountains (Luke writes wilderness), and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices and when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, "Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost! I say to you, likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. Matthew writes of Jesus saying, "For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. " and also, "Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish."

Combining the writings of Matthew and Luke we can decipher that Jesus came, not only to save sinners who were lost (without God), but also to bring back to the fold, them who had gone astray after being in the flock. This parable shows the Shepherd character of God who cares for his sheep and in John Chapter 10, we read Jesus' emphatic statement, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep"(John 10:11). Jesus accomplished this, when he laid down his life as the atoning sacrifice for the sins of all humanity.

Words Of Jesus Devotionals-44

365 Blessings- Devotional 46

Devotionals From Ecclesiastes-44

Start Your Day Right-23

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

New Testament- Lesson 122

Matthew Chapter 18- Part 2

Judgment on those who cause believers to sin, How to deal with sin & Guardian angels- Read (Matthew 18:6-10)(Matthew 5:29, 30)(Mark 9:42-48)

Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses, for offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes. "If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire. "Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 18:6-10)

Christ affectionately calls his disciples "little ones" and he denounces people who would lead such astray by teaching to sin or belittling living in holiness or minimizing the evilness of sin. Not all believers are strong and some tend to fall easily when they see evil being portrayed in their presence. Jesus condemned such evil doers who lead believers astray and said that, "It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea." Such a capital punishment was not practiced among the Jews but was seen among the Greeks, Syrians & Romans. Millstone here, was that which was pulled by an ass for grinding purposes.
The radical treatment of the eye, hand and foot which sinned was spoken by Jesus, not literally advocating it, but he pointed to his disciples how sin should be dealt with. Sin had/has to be dealt with drastically, with total dependence on the Savior for deliverance and by practicing self-discipline. Believers are not to take sin lightly, for as James says, "It will eventually lead to death when fully grown."

Jesus spoke of guardian angels for believers who have constant access to the Father. This is also mentioned in Psalm 34:7, Psalm 91:11 and Hebrews 1:14.

Words Of Jesus Devotionals-43

Start Your Day Right-22

Devotionals From Ecclesiastes-43

365 Blessings- Devotional 45