First Light is a short devotional that is posted daily throughout the week via email and this blog.  If you are interested in receiving a copy in your email, just contact us at and tell us you would like to receive First Light.

Rich in poverty

Posted by Brandon Patton on Thursday, March 14, 2019 @ 9:35 AM

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 1:3

Hettie Green is listed in the Guiness record book as the world's greatest miser. She lived in a one room run down apartment in New York. She turned the radiator heat up just enough to stay alive. She ate cold oatmeal at every meal. She owned one black dress that she would take off and wash every few nights. Don't pity Ms. Green. She had millions of dollars on deposit with the Chase Manhattan bank. She chose to live in poverty although she certainly didn't have to. If this verse in Ephesians is true, then Hettie's life is a picture of the life of God's children. Living in poverty although Jesus has purchased for us "every spiritual blessing". What is included in this "Divine deposit" the lover of our soul has made for us? His Word is the catalog of all that is ours in Him. Our peace, contentment, love, joy, purpose and prosperity are just a few of the treasures He records in His Book. We will spend a lifetime and all of eternity discovering all that is ours in Him. The tragedy would be to live in any need if it was already mine. Lets get in His Word and find our inheritance and then lay hold of it by faith. If there is one moment of regret in heaven it will be to arrive poverty stricken and find that it wasn't necessary. Let Hettie scrape by if she wants to. I don't want Jesus sacrifice to go to waste.

Thank you for being a good Father. Open my eyes to the "riches of my inheritance in Christ Jesus". I pray for grace not to waste your sacrifice for my blessing.

Pushing through

Posted by Brandon Patton on Monday, February 25, 2019 @ 9:48 AM

"For she said, "if only I can touch His clothes I will be made well."

Mark 5:28

The woman in this passage had a great need, much like we all do. She knew that if she could just get to Jesus He would help her. However, she found herself having to fight through the crowd to reach Him. Have you ever noticed in the Bible how often people had to fight through something to get to God so He could help them? Over and over people had to push through circumstances to reach Him. What is God saying through these examples? There is no doubt that He is good, that He is able to meet any need we incur. The message is that His goodness toward us often is blocked by something. That we must often press in to be blessed. What if, when the going got difficult she had given in to discouragement and stopped reaching out to Him? What if, when the way became hard she had assumed that it wasn't His will to help her? There was something about this woman that refused to stop believing that He would do something great for her even is she had to battle for it. If the four men that carried a crippled friend to Jesus had stopped at the first roadblock he would never have been healed. They were determined to get to Him so they just tore the roof off the house and lowered him down in front of the healer. I can't explain why it often seems like such a fight to reach God and His goodness, but, I do know that if we determine that we will reach Him no matter what the cost He always shows Himself faithful to us. What is standing between you and your need or heart's desire? Is it doubt? Is it your own weakness? Like the woman, is it other people? Is it the silence of God? Whatever it is, you have to choose. Quit in discouragement and miss His best for you, or you can declare that "He is good and He will meet me as I press in by faith to reach Him". The woman declared "when I get to Jesus He will help me". His promises can not fail. He will do what He said He would. Sometimes its not knowledge, its just plain old bulldog determination to reach Him that gets rewarded. Ask the woman.

Father, I know you are there even when I don't feel you or see you. I know by your promise that as I push through to you I will see your goodness to me. Help me to press on to lay hold of you and your best.

The reward of the humble

Posted by Brandon Patton on Thursday, February 21, 2019 @ 9:43 AM

"God gives grace to the humble."

James 4:6

Different people admire different traits and qualities in others. Some respect strength. Some admire courage. Still others are impressed by charisma. The Bible reveals to us that the trait that moves the heart of God is humility. From Genesis to Revelation we see that He seeks out the humble and does great things for them. David, although a great warrior who had killed a lion with his hands, remained a man of deep humility allowing God to bless him and raise him up. Moses is declared the most humble man that ever lived in the Bible. He was a bold leader that walked in humility before God. No doubt that the person that desires the favor and goodness of God on their lives needs to cultivate the trait of humility. Although it is the quality that God desires most of all it is also one of the most misunderstood traits. Many believe that humility is to be self loathing, mousy, or pitiful looking. Not at all. This is actually inverted pride. Humility is defined in scripture as simply being needy. A humble man is one that knows and acknowledges his great need for God's grace. He is one that is totally dependant on God for everything. He agrees with the Bible that "apart from Jesus I can do nothing". God is not looking for people that want to impress Him with how strong they are or how they ca do it on their own. He is drawn to the humble cry of the tax collector in Luke 18, "God be merciful to me a sinner". The question is not whether we are needy or not. Everyone is. Only the fool believes that he is self sufficient. Who's air are you breathing right now? The issue is whether we recognize our need or not. Lets place ourselves in the place of grace by bowing before God in humility knowing that just as water always runs to the lowest place, His kindness flows from heaven to the lowest heart.

Today I praise you that there is abundant grace waiting for me at your feet. I humble myself and declare that I need you more than I know. Thank you that the cry of the humble is always a prayer that you respond to.  


Posted by Brandon Patton on Thursday, February 21, 2019 @ 9:42 AM

"Brethren, join in following my example, and make a note of others who live like me as you have us as a pattern."

Philippians 3:17

Its a known truth that to get somewhere you need to know where you are going! Nobody achieves greatness by accident. If you reach your goal it will be on purpose. In this verse our great God reveals one of the necessary keys to ending up where we want to be. He admonishes us to identify people that are living the life that we desire to live and use them as a "pattern" for our lives. We have the bible to show us the abundant life that we desire. We also have the life of Jesus as a model to follow. But, He also calls us to pick out people that can serve as models for us to imitate. I was blessed to have men that lived exceptional lives that I could watch and learn from as a pattern for where I wanted to be. Ernie taught me by example to refuse to live a mediocre life. He taught me to never miss a chance to make every day extraordinary. Kenneth modeled a life of great faith in God's Word that I could follow and imitate. Perry inspired me to have a passion for people to find salvation in Jesus. Ken ignited in me a deep desire for the mysticism of the Kingdom. To never be satisfied with what I know about Jesus as a person but to always be seeking to know Him more. What about you? Do you have some people in your life that you admire certain qualities about? Qualities that you would like to develop? Maybe a parent, a friend or a public figure? Identify a few people that you can "study" and learn from. Someone that you can ask yourself "what would so and so do"? Mark yourself some patterns that can help you get where God has destined you to go.  

Father, today I am grateful for the people that you have placed in my life as patterns to help me reach my full potential in you. Thank you for living examples along life's road!   

You have to say it

Posted by Brandon Patton on Thursday, February 21, 2019 @ 9:42 AM

"I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust."

Psalm 91:2

When you are in a difficult place what do you do? Do you pray? do you talk about how hard it is? Do you sulk in discouragement? The Bible teaches that to receive help from on high we must speak something. In this verse  we see that we must "say" something. "I will say" is how we release faith in God and His word that causes Him to intervene in the affairs of our lives. This is how faith works. Jesus taught in Mark 11:23 that to have faith in God is to believe His promise and then speak it out loud. He then said that "he who speaks will have whatever he says". This seems strange to the natural mind. So be it. Its natural during tough times to want to whine, talk about the problem, predict doom, ask why and wonder what will happen, but this is not what faith does. Faith believes God's promise and begins to speak what God says in dogged determination. Don't say "we are going broke". Say "my God will supply all my need". Don't say "I'm scared for my kids". Say "all my children will be taught of the Lord and live in great peace". Don't say "I'm afraid of what might happen". Say "no evil shall befall me nor shall any plague come near my door". You get the picture. Stop living and speaking what you see. Start living by and speaking God's word and promises. His goodness is available to anyone. It is faith that brings it home.

"Blessed be the Lord that daily loads me with benefits!"

Psalm 68:19

The need to believe

Posted by Brandon Patton on Thursday, February 21, 2019 @ 9:41 AM

"I would have lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."

David in this verse reveals the secret to his blessed life. I would argue that he may have been the man that God did more for than any other person in history. He was a nobody from a poor family. His own father didn't think he would amount to much. How do you go from that start to being the greatest king, military commander, and musician that ever lived? When Jesus returns He will rule from "the throne of David" which is located in "the city of David" (Jerusalem). He himself attributed all of his success to God. "Who am I and what is my house that you have brought me this far?" In this great verse we see what it was about David that God blessed. He believed that God would do big things for him. He expected God to be good to him. He speaks of "losing heart" or as we would say, being discouraged, if he didn't believe God would do something for him. God was not offended by David's expectations. He was honored by them. The Bible teaches that our God is a faith God. That He responds to our faith and expectation of His goodness to us. What about you? What are you expecting from Him? What are you believing Him to do for you and your family? Anything big? To begin to receive His goodness you need to do three things. First, get into His word and study His goodness. See how generous and gracious He is. See how He loves to do things for the undeserving. This will build your own faith since "faith comes from hearing the word of God". Second, get in His word and find His promises to you. Don't waste His promises. He gave them to you for a reason. Then pray in faith and ask Him to bring those promises of goodness to pass in your life and home. Stand in faith believing that what He promised He will do. Jesus died to bring the goodness of heaven to you. Lets don't lose what He died to give us as His chosen covenant children.  

I praise you that you are a good God. A Father that blesses His children abundantly. I choose to believe that you are good to me and my family.  

He hears

Posted by Brandon Patton on Thursday, February 21, 2019 @ 9:41 AM

"Call on me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things you do not know."

Jeremiah 33:3

I don't know any children of God that don't believe in prayer. I know of none that would say that God doesn't hear their prayers. But, having said that, I don't know of many that pray expecting an answer. Is it right to expect our great God to answer our call to Him? Or, do we just fire up requests and hope something hits? Sort of like shooting at blackbirds in the dark? Where can I find an answer to what is no doubt one of the biggest questions of life? If He hears and answers prayer what does that do for me and my family? If He doesn't or won't answer, why pray? Is it just a religious ritual we go through? You draw what you believe from one of three sources basically. You can build what you believe on God's Word, your experience, or what someone else teaches. Where did you get what you believe about prayer from? It should go without saying that I vote for our belief being based on God's Word. If that is my choice, then I need to ask myself "what does He say"? I don't have space to review all the promises that He makes in His Book concerning His willingness to answer my call to Him. One of my favorites is today's verse in Jeremiah. What if it were true? What if He really would answer me and "show me great and mighty things"? May I propose that there are only two options? Either its true or its not. I want to challenge you to consider something; what kind of father would tell his child over and over to ask him for things knowing that he was not going to give them anything? I would say that he was cruel father. Am I to believe that the God who killed His Son to save me would promise to answer me when I pray knowing that He didn't intend to keep His promise? A thousand times no! I'll never believe that He who is ultimate goodness and compassion would play games with me in my need by having me ask when He never intended to answer. I can't explain all the "how comes" that people ask concerning prayer. I've given up trying to figure everything out so I can explain. But, one thing I do know; the God who gave His dear Son to help me can not lie. He tells the truth. When He says "ask and you will receive", I know he will keep His Word. Lets start praying like we expect Him to keep His promise and answer us.

Father, I praise you that your goodness makes you faithful. I usually pray just to visit and give thanks for all you have done. But, what a joy to know that when need arises I can call and you will answer. 

"I thought"

Posted by Brandon Patton on Thursday, February 21, 2019 @ 9:40 AM

"I thought surely He would..."

2 Kings 5:11

There are two words that will cause you to miss the goodness of God to you every time. "I thought". Naaman was a leper who asked God to help him. God agreed and then told him what to do to be healed. When Naaman heard what God said he became angry and said "I thought surely He would do it the way I wanted Him to". God wanted to help the man. God's way. For Naaman it became do it God's way or die. There was no negotiating the means of help. He had to accept the deal or die. Finally he gave in and was helped. This lesson is repeated all through the Bible. His willingness to help the undeserving is stunning. Then the question becomes; why doesn't He help more people? Simple answer; they don't like His way. In His Word he has promised that during every temptation there would be a "way of escape". The catch is that He gets to name "the way". Many times I have met people in hellish bondage to bitterness that had to be medicated to function who wanted me to pray for them. Glad to. When I would give them His way of escape which is forgive completely and ask forgiveness the answer was "I would rather die than be healed His way". Some did. God is rather funny about things being done "His way". He won't bend on this one. How tragic would it be to miss Heaven's best life because we demanded that it be on our terms? Quite frankly I am shocked at the people that insist on God bending to suit their demands. Do I really need to tell you  that He is smarter? That He sees things that we don't? I promise you that He is willing and able to help in every situation if we could just run up the white flag and say "not my will, yours be done".

Thank you that there is an answer for every need. If you will heal a pagan general that was attacking your people I believe you care about my situation. I want your best, done your way.   

Making happiness

Posted by Brandon Patton on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 @ 1:42 PM

"If you know these things happy are you if you do them."

John 13:17

Its no secret that the driving force in life is the search for happiness. Our nation was founded on the "pursuit of happiness". Countess books and articles have been written on the "secret to true happiness". I often hear single people say that they hope to find someone that will "make them happy". If this holy grail of happiness is so desired by so many why does it remain so elusive? With all that we have indulged ourselves in today that is supposed to make us happy, why does happiness seem to be at an all time low in the land? I am convinced from scripture that much as the country song that crooned about "looking for love in all the wrong places", people are searching for happiness in the wrong places. Our culture has pumped it into our heads and hearts that happiness is found in self indulgence. Get more. Be more. Do more. The entire message of the day seems to be "place yourself at the center of the universe and you will find what you are looking for". No wonder pollsters tell us that Americans are increasingly miserable. Nothing could be further from the truth. For starters should we not look to our Creator for the secrets to how this life works? He wrote a book about life. In this book are the keys to living it well. In John 13 we find the simple secret to true heart happiness. Jesus, who is God in a human body, humbles himself and washes the dirty feet of his friends. Nothing religious here, He saw their need and met it. Its called serving people. After He had been seated again He revealed a great truth. "I have given you an example, go do for people what I did for you". Then He adds these words, "if you know these things, happy are you if you do them". There it is. God Almighty revealing the road to great happiness in life. He stands the cultural message on its head. Completely upside down. Happiness doesn't come from getting something, its comes from giving something. Makes no sense whatsoever. Who cares? It works. Want to up your "happiness level"? Get your mind off you and go serve somebody. "Have this mind in you that was in Christ, who came to serve mankind". "How much do I have to serve to be happy", you may ask. I would answer, "how happy do you want to be"? Our Creator has handed you the key to what your heart desires. Now, its up to you to get started. I promise you that the opportunities to serve people are abundant and right in front of you!  

Father, deliver me from the self centeredness that sucks the life out of me. Make me like your Son who came "not to be served, but to serve".

Do you Laugh?

Posted by Brandon Patton on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 @ 1:42 PM

"Therefore Sarah laughed to herself."

Genesis 18:12

She was just an average woman at the time. Nothing special. However, in spite of her run of the mill life the God of heaven visited her and revealed to her His plans for her life. Her response? "Sarah laughed". Why would anyone laugh in the presence of the Almighty of the universe? Seems to me that you would be in awe. Maybe that you would worship and bow down? What was so funny? Simple answer; His plans were so big and so beyond imagination that she laughed at the size of what He promised. Did He get angry at her response? Not at all. He responded to her with the great verse that I love so much, "is anything too hard for the Lord?" She was overwhelmed with what He had in mind. It was indeed funny when you consider what He said! Question; why is this in the Bible? Is it so we can cheer for Sarah? A beyond belief promise that He indeed did bring to pass? What if this is in the Bible to speak to me? What if His plans for me and mine were so huge that I would laugh when I heard them? I refuse to believe that He has certain children that get great big crazy dreams like Sarah, and the rest of us get small, puny, barely get by lives of mediocrity. I see a God that loves to shock His own with plans and promises that are humorous to the natural thinking due to their size and scope! If its a small plan and dream, you can do that. Where is the promise that is so big that only He can pull it off? Listen to Him and let Him speak into your heart "the plans I have for you". If they make you laugh, its Him. Too old now for big stuff? Sarah was eighty. Too rough for Him? Moses was a felon in hiding. Too ungodly? David was, you name it! I promise you that if you were to hear all that is in His heart you would laugh! And He would bring it to pass!

God of big stuff, I praise you for your plans. Enough of getting by. Show me "the plans of your heart" so I can laugh and believe!        

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