April 23-29 MY WAY OR HIS WAY?

Apr. 23 – (Josh. 8:1-17) Have you ever tried to do something in your own strength? Or maybe did something the Lord told you to do but did it your way instead of His?  How did it work for you?  Let’s purpose to do things His way! 


Apr. 24 – (Josh. 8:18-29) Did you notice that this time they watched their leader and only moved when he gave the signal? Many times, we hear from God, but we don’t listen to when we should do it.  Selah            One other thing, I am reminded of.  God will never leave us or forsake us. Never!   Through the Holy Spirit, we need to discern when we are to wait and trust, or that we are being disciplined and need to repent. Remember: God only disciplines His children (Heb. 12:7-8).  Selah


Apr. 25 – (Josh. 8:30-35) Joshua is following the instructions Moses left from at least 2 years earlier (Deut. 27:1-8).  How can we relate this to anything in our lives?  1. Here are written the basic blessings and curses for living life (this includes the 10 commandments).  2. They offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings.  Burnt offerings were for forgiveness of sins. Peace offerings celebrated peace with God or relationship with God.  When we sin, we need to ask forgiveness. That process restores relationship with God.  Sin blocks our relationship from God (at least in that area). It never blocks God’s relationship with us!  Selah

DID YOU KNOW? Mount Ebal, along with its counterpart Mount Gerizim (Deut. 11:29), is some 20 miles north of Ai, near Shechem.  Israel’s ancestors had ties to Shechem beginning with Abraham (Gen. 12:6-7); also, Jacob (Gen. 33:18-20; 34:1-31).  These associations may help explain how Israel is able to hold a covenant renewal there, apparently without having to capture it first.


Apr. 26 – (Josh. 9:1-15) God promised to annihilate all the inhabitants of Canaan.  Why then did the Gibeonites get to live (9:14)?  God has promised to destroy the “nations” (Deut. 31:3) He has given us so why do we struggle with things in our life? Mostly, for me, it’s because I try to do it in my own power instead of waiting on the Lord for understanding and timing. Seek the Lord first in ALL things!  You never know when the enemy is dressed to deceive you!  Oh wait… that’s what he always does!  Don’t let him, in Jesus’ name! Let’s pay attention to what the Gibeonites do from here…. it’s not over yet!


Apr. 27 – (Josh. 9:16-27) The Gibeonites were probably a sect of the Hivites which were listed in Deut. 20:17 as slated for complete destruction. It is also apparent that they believed that the God of the Israelites was powerful enough to do just that.  That meant that they believed in Israel’s God (at least in that).   Even though the Gibeonites were cursed for their deception and made to be wood cutters and water carriers for the people of Israel, Joshua put them in charge of cutting wood for burning on the altar and carrying water for the temple.  Let’s pause and think about that!


Apr. 28 – (Josh. 10:1-15) This reminds me that God “allows” – does all things for our good even when we disobey and believe lies from the enemy.  The Gibeonites deceived Joshua and the Israel’s leaders and therefore came under Israel’s rule as servants rather than be destroyed.  Five kings of a large area from Jerusalem to the coast came against the Gibeonites and since they were now under Israel’s rule, they needed protection.  God performed a miracle allowing Israel to conquer and control all that area and made a way for further conquests. Can you relate to a time when you recognized God doing the same type of thing in your life?  I can. If you ask, I can give you an example. 😊


Apr. 29 – (Josh. 10:16-28) Why did Joshua instruct the leaders to put their feet on the neck of the five kings?  It was to show the leaders that they were fighting a battle that had already been won because God had ordained it. It was for courage to continue from a place of knowing they would be victorious.  That is our position even today! Selah 😊

                DID YOU KNOW?   Royal humiliation.  In the ancient Near East, victors would often put their feet on the necks of defeated foes (10:24).  This was usually done to people in positions of leadership. The act was made to show dominance over the defeated foe.

Memorials-What Are Yours?

Apr. 16 – (Josh. 4:11-24) There are two things I want to think about in these verses. 1. This is very significant (and exciting)!  The Israelites came up from the Jordan on the 10th day of the 1st month (4:19).  Now look at when God told the Israelites to have their first Passover (Ex. 12:1-3).  God wanted them to remember…which leads us to the second thing. 2. Memorials: verses 5-7 are instructions to pass on what the Lord did in their lives.  The Lord works in our lives everyday but it’s those pivotal moments that our children need to hear about and not just “one and done”.  As parents, we need to teach our children how to rely on the Lord and see what He will do. They do become adults.  They do follow our ways, but only if they see the benefit of them.  Selah


Apr. 17 – (Josh. 5:1-12) Why did God stop the manna when He did?  Sometimes when things stop coming to us, we forget that God will always provide and there is something better to come.  Selah

Why did God also begin circumcision again?  We know from these verses that Joshua was the only one who was circumcised (No one in the wilderness journey was circumcised.).  Why was this so important?  Let’s go back a little farther. Circumcision was a rite established by God when He first called Abraham out of paganism and covenanted with him that He would bless Abraham with a land, a seed, and a blessing (Gen. 12:1-3).  The “land” was Canaan! The “seed” was the nation Israel! And the “blessing” was the Savior who would come into the world to die for the sins of all mankind! God confirmed that covenant with Abraham by means of circumcision. It was a “sign of the covenant” (Gen. 17:9-14). This was a continuing fulfilment of that covenant.

Whenever God acts, He usually achieves more than one purpose with the same event or situation.  Here are just a few I just found out in this study.  4,000 years after God’s command to Abraham regarding circumcision, medical science discovered that wives of men who had not been circumcised have less “female” issues than wives of men who have been circumcised.  Another insight: The son was to be circumcised on the 8th day after birth.  Natural resources in the human body for preventing excessive bleeding reach a 110 % level about the eighth day and then level off quickly following this point in time.  Before this day natural resources have not yet been produced in sufficient quantity in the child’s body to make the operation as safe!   God is so amazing! 


Apr. 18 – (Josh. 5:13-15) I was drawn to the angel’s response to Joshua’s question of whose side He was on.  Here is a commentary by E. John Hamlin from “Joshua - Inheriting the Land”. The simple answer was “No!”  It is a warning against a misinterpretation of the words “with you” and “among you.”  There can be no relief from the anxiety out of which the question comes, because the covenant Lord is free, not subject to attempts “to get Him on our side,” to make Him a kind of “idol” that would always do our will (Isa. 48:5).  The covenant Lord is free to become an adversary (Hos. 13:8; Lam. 2:5) or to allow Israel’s adversaries to do their work (Isa. 10:5-6). This “no” is especially important in time of war, which arouses emotions of hatred, fear, revenge, and the demand that whatever is done must be blessed by God.  On the eve of the struggle for the land, this incident reminds Joshua and later generations that the struggles in which they are engaged must be subordinated to God’s greater purpose for the whole earth.  Joshua’s reply, “What does my Lord bid His servant?”, reminds us of Jesus’ prayer before his final confrontation with the power of evil: “Not what I will but what thou wilt” (Mk. 14:36).  I think I need to do some repenting myself.  Selah!


Apr. 19 – (Josh. 6: 1-14) God is setting up the Israelites for their first victory in their new land.  They had seen God guide them through the wilderness in unconventional ways.  Do you think they thought this wouldn’t work?  Or were they so pumped from crossing a dry Jordan that this was no big deal?  When you are asking Jesus to give you victory in some “land” you need to possess, do you hear some unconventional way and disregard it?  Is it hard to wait to see victory?

                Let me give you an excerpt from “Jesus Calling” that I read today. STOP TRYING TO WORK THINGS OUT before their times have come.  Accept the limitations of living one day at a time.  When something comes to your attention, ask Me (Jesus) whether or not it is part of today’s agenda.  If it isn’t, release it into My care and go on about today’s duties.  When you follow this practice, there will be a beautiful simplicity about your life: “a time for everything, and everything in its time”. When your focus is on My Presence, many things that once troubled you lose their power over you.  Though the world around you is messy and confusing, remember that “I have overcome the world.  I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have Peace.”  


Apr. 20 – (Josh. 6:15-27) What does the description of Jericho’s destruction say to us today?  There are many interpretations of which describe God reaching out to all nations to believe in Him (Rahab), to Jesus being silent before His accusers (being silent as they marched around the city), and more.  Here is my reminder: 1.  The battle is not ours, but God’s’ we much subject our wills and our methods to Him. 2. We must discern social, political, and religious points that God wants us to separate ourselves from. 3. God’s purpose in calling His people and giving them living space is that all families of the earth should be blessed with the knowledge of Him and His love.  Selah


Apr. 21 – (Josh. 7:1-15) Look at verse 1.  It says the “people” of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things… It doesn’t say just Achan broke faith.  So, my sin doesn’t just affect me and my family, its affects go much broader than that. “Jesus forgive me, and please help me not to sin.” Selah


Apr. 22 – (Josh. 7:16-26) What was the reason the Israelites could not conquer Ai at first?   Can you imagine being Achan and going through that sin, discovery, and punishment?  Did he still think he could get away with it even as they narrowed the selection?  Next question: Do I try to “possess” things God has already destroyed and wants me to dispossess?  Again, how many other people are affected by my sin (36 died here)? Selah

Apr. 9-15 WE WON! LET'S LIVE THAT WAY!!

  Why study the book of Joshua?  We have just been reminded that Jesus gained victory over sin.  We know He did that so we could be victorious over sin as well.  The book of Joshua is a book of battles.  Do you have battles in your life?  It is a book for soldiers.  Are you in the Lord’s army?  Do we dare to win God’s way? What applied then, applies today.  Those who faithfully listen to the Holy Spirit with faith to hear and do, will conquer!  This book helps us understand what that victorious living looks like. It helps us see the things we should do (or not do). 

                The book of Joshua comes immediately after the Pentateuch and in many ways, completes its story.  The theme of the first five books of the Bible is the progressive fulfillment of the “patriarchal promise,” made first to Abraham (Gen. 23:2-4) and repeated to his son Isaac (Gen. 26:2-4) and his grandson Jacob (Gen. 28:13-15). The Lord promised Abraham and his descendants that they would be blessed and would become a blessing to others, that they would grow to become a great nation, they would be given a land of their own- and that these blessings would be enjoyed within a close covenant relationship with God. God has made the same promise to us. 


Apr. 9 – (Josh. 1:1-9) Israel’s direction is making a big turn.  They have gone from slaves, to nomads and now they’re coming into a promised land they get to call home…. after they conquer it!    Joshua is a book of battles. He and the Israelites will learn what to fight against, what to conquer, and how to conquer.   God will show them.  It would be great to list the details of each battle and what went well and then what went wrong and why.  It is a lesson to all of us how to war against our flesh and allow God to guide us into transforming victory.  Josh. 1:9 b can be our battle cry!  “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go!”


Apr. 10 – (Josh. 1:10-18) Joshua is giving his leaders instructions for going into the promised land in three days.  Sounds good!  Verse 16 gives their response to Joshua.  On the surface it looks like they are saying all the right things. They even are praying that Joshua will have as much favor in God’s eyes as Moses did. Just one little glitch. They are still wanting someone telling them what to do instead of hearing directly from God.  It is so important for us to hear from God through His Holy Spirit. Yes, we get inspiration from sermons and music etc. but when he speaks directly to us we have the purest message.  Selah


Apr. 11 – (Josh. 2:1-14) Here we have the story of Rahab hiding the spies that were sent into Jericho to see what they were up against.  As I am reading, I realize they decided to spend the night at a prostitute’s house. Hmm.   Would any “good” Christian do that today? Then I get to the end of this passage. Rahab is asking for mercy when this inevitably happens…Israel takes over the city.  What is their response?  If you help us, “Our life for yours even to death”! Doesn’t that sound like Jesus?  Jesus died just as much for me as for the prostitute. My sins equal another’s sins for which Jesus died and rose victorious!  Praise Him Forever! 


Apr. 12 – (Josh. 2:15-24) I just realized that Rahab told the spies to hide 3 days.  We just related the previous verses to Jesus dying and 3 days later rising victorious over sin! When the spies got back successfully, to Joshua (after doing what Rahab suggested), they had a whole different viewpoint about the challenge ahead (they had a good report to deliver). Have you ever encountered a challenging situation but through prayer and listening to the Holy Spirit, received a whole new and “doable” view to replace the “undo-able” view?  That is what God is asking us to do…rely on Him not try to “fix it” ourselves. God has really been showing me this.  I will have to share sometime…😊


Apr. 13 – (Josh. 3:1-6) Here we have 3 days again!  They went to the Jordan river and stayed there 3 days. Then it was time to move forward out of bondage into their promised land.  God had already reassured Joshua that the land was theirs (1:2-4). And Joshua believed what God had said (1:10,11).  But the report from the two spies added a touch of reality that bolstered his faith.  God knew what His servant needed. And though He had made it very clear that victory was already guaranteed it they met His conditions, yet the Lord allowed Joshua to accumulate some military evidence to make it easier to continue to actively believe God’s promise. Can you relate to this?  Lately God has been showing me some things and as I move in what I believe He is saying, there comes confirmation in several ways to bolster my faith that I actually heard from Him. (I am so thankful!)  Faith and action are my watch words lately!


Apr. 14 - (Josh. 3:7-17) Let us ponder just one verse. In verse 7, God tells Joshua that He will be with Joshua just as He was with Moses. Joshua knew how God was with Moses and directed him.  That had to build confidence in Joshua that he could do what he was called to do.  He had watched Moses for many years and now God was saying He would have the same relationship with him.  Just as Moses was a great mentor-godly example, we too have people who are watching us as to how to live and be victorious in this life.  Selah


Apr. 15 – (Josh. 4:1-10) God had Joshua set up a memorial for all time to remind all who came behind him that God was with them…through it all.  It’s quite a journey so far… yet God knew what would happen way before they lived it out.  Here are the questions I am asking: What memorial stones am I leaving for those who come behind me?  Am I constantly aware that God has gone before me, is with me in each moment, and does things only for my good and His glory? Selah

Apr. 2-8 Benefits of the Cross

4/2-8/18  The Benefits of The Cross

April 2nd: Salvation

Read:  Acts 4:1-12

When we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior, there are so many benefits that come with that decision.  In this week’s study, we will look at some of those benefits. The format of study for this week, will be a little different.  You will need your Bible, pencil and paper.  Let’s begin.

The word salvation, is translated from the Greek word, soteria.  It has many meanings attached to it. Look up the following Scriptures, and write down what our salvation is associated with, from that Scripture.

1.          Luke 1:77; Romans 10:10:

2.         Acts 4:12; Acts 27:34:

3.         Romans 13:11; Philippians 1:19, 28; I Peter 1:5,9:

4.         Luke 1:71

Salvation cannot and is not limited to the initial stage of redemption, which is forgiveness of sins.  Salvation includes so much more.  Salvation is deliverance from and preservation from destruction and judgement. Salvation means being saved from enemies and delivery from bondages. 

Salvation includes healing from physical infirmities, and all kinds of deliverances.  Salvation includes complete and final deliverance from all of the curse including death (separation from God for all eternity).

Salvation includes rejuvenation, answered prayer, hope, forgiveness of sins, full deliverance from the curse, soundness and eternal life with God.

Wow!!!!!  What do you think about that?

Journal your thoughts:

 


April 3rd:  The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is another benefit of the work that Christ has done for us, as a result of His dying for us on the cross.  When we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior, The Holy Spirit comes into our hearts, and lives inside of us.  For this study, look up the following Scriptures and write down the things that He does for us.  This is only a partial list.

 

5.         He _____________ things to men. (I Corinthians 2:10,11)

6.         The Holy Spirit ____________________ us. (Nehemiah 9:20)

7.         He can be _________________________. (Psalms 106:33)

8.         He is The Spirit of ______________________________________________ (Isaiah 11:2)

9.         The Holy Spirit can be_______________________ (Isaiah 63:10)

10.    He is called the Spirit of _____________________ (John 14:17)

11.    He will ____________________ you all things. (John 14:26)

12.    He will bring things to your ____________________________ (John 14:26)

13.    The Holy Spirit gives __________________ to men. (Luke 24:45)

14.    He will _________________ you in prayer. (Romans 8:26)

15.    The Holy Spirit ______________ the things of God. (I Corinthians 2:11)

As, you can see, The Holy Spirit does so many things for the Believer.

He indwells us, reveals things to us, brings things to our remembrance.  He is The Spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel and might.  He can be grieved and provoked.  The Holy Spirit imparts power to us.  He helps us to pray and knows the things of God.  The Bible tells us not to grieve The Holy Spirit.  We do this when we ignore His promptings, walk in disobedience, walk in unforgiveness towards others, and harbor sin in our lives.  What are some other things that The Holy Spirit does for us?  Feel free to consult with a study buddy. 


April 4th:  The Fruit and Gifts of The Holy Spirit

Let us continue to look at more of the benefits and blessings of being saved. When we are born again, and receive Christ into our lives as our Lord and Savior; The Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us. The fruit of The Spirit is the manifestation of a spiritual life; a Spirit-led life. 

If The Holy Spirit is in control and leading your life, you will exhibit evidence or fruit of His control.  Read Galatians 5: 22,23.  List the Fruit of The Spirit below.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

At conversion, when we are born again, The Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us; He then gives us spiritual gifts.  These gifts are given to every believer to empower him/her to serve God.  A spiritual gift is a Spirit-given ability for Christian service.  God is a God of variety.  There are many gifts.

Read Romans 12:3-8; I Corinthians 12:8-10, 28-30; Ephesians 4:10-13.  List all the spiritual gifts.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Spiritual gifts have a single source and purpose.  They are given by The Holy Spirit to be used to minister to others. We are blessed, in order for us to be a blessing to others. 


April 5th:  Communion with God

Read:  John 15:7; I John 5:14,15; John 14:6,13,14

Communion and communication with God are two more benefits of our salvation.  Prayer and The Word of God are inseparable.  In God’s Word, He speaks to us.  In prayer, we speak to God. Prayer is communion with God. It is both speaking and listening to God. Our relationship with God our heavenly Father, should be a relationship of complete trust.  The prayer life of the Christian is essential.

The God who created us and loved us so much, sent His only begotten Son to die for us.  It is God, who in spite of our sin and lack of love for Him, has done everything for us.  He now waits for us to come to Him in prayer.  It is a privilege to pray.  There is power in prayer and promises connected to prayer.

Through the Bible, God communicates and reveals Himself to us.  We need to study The Word of God to, not only know His heart about a matter; but to also experience the Power of His Word in our life.

Look up the following Scriptures:

16.     Hebrew 5:13, Philippians 2:16, Ephesians 6:17 tells us what God’s Word is: ____________________________________________________

17.    1 John 2:5; John 12:48; Romans 10:17; John 15:3; tells us what God’s Word does: __________________________________________________

As you study the Bible with reverence, awe, expectancy and with a willing mind; God will speak to you. Communion and relationship with God is another benefit of what Jesus did for us on the cross.

For the past few days, we have looked at the benefits and blessings of Christ’s work on the cross.  There are so many more.  When we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior, we get a new family.  We become a part of God’s family.  We become part of a covenant relationship with God.  We are given angelic protection and ministry.  We are given a new character, a new Commander, a new identity, and a new destiny.  We were condemned, but now we are forgiven.  We were sinners, and now we are saints!!!  Praise God!!!!!  Give Him glory!!!!!!!!!!!


April 6th: A Heart Longing for God

Read: Psalm 42

God wants us to pursue Him with a thirsty heart.  He loves us so intently.  He gave His Son to die for us.  In every human being, there is a strong desire to worship something.  God put that desire in us, for Him.  There is a deep thirst within each of us for God, which resides at the core of our being.  You will never pursue God with all of your heart until you become intensely aware of that deep inner thirst.

In today’s Scripture reading, the Psalmist described a deer craving for water during a prolonged drought, after being chased.  The Psalmist said that his heart panted, longed, and craved for God.  The Hebrew word used in this verse suggests a desire so intense, that you could almost hear it.

Do you pant, long for, or desire God in the way the psalmist described?  Do you pursue Him in such a way that everything else in your life takes a back seat? God wants us to love Him as much as He loves us.  He wants us to desire Him.  God wants us to appreciate Him. He wants us to obey Him.  He wants a close relationship with us.  God wants us to get rid of all that hinders our pursuit of Him.

Read Psalm 73:15-28; Psalm 27:4; 2 Chronicles 15:15

What was the psalmist’s confession?

 

What happened when Israel sought the Lord wholeheartedly?

 

What is your response to God?

 


April 7th:  God’s Way or Our Way?  We must Choose

Read:  Psalm 85

God, our Divine Shepherd seeks to lead us in the paths that are right.  But, so often we are stubborn, self-centered, and self-willed.  We often decline to follow God’s leading.  We prefer our own way even though it may lead us straight into trouble.

What is so sad and challenging is the fact that many of us, will strongly deny that we are going our own way.  God is calling us into obedience.  He knows the way that we should take.  He wants us to give up our self-centeredness before we fall into serious trouble.

Anytime that we allow self-interest to be primary over God’s way, the result is self-destruction.  The self-centered soon becomes self-disruptive and the self-destructive.

God wants us to be led by His Spirit.  His Spirit will show us how to truly live.  He will help us to live God’s way.  God’s way is always the best way.  But, He will never take away our choice.  We must choose His way.  He wants us to willingly choose His best for our lives.

Read Proverbs 14:12; Colossians 3; Galatians 2:20; Romans 6:11.

What was Paul’s confession?

 

List some characteristics to an unselfish life:

 


April 8th:  Think on God’s ways

Read:  Psalm 119:59; I Peter 1:13

Our minds can lead us to the throne of God, or to the bottomless pit.  Where our minds wander, we follow.  Where thoughts linger, life settles down.  To control our lives, we must direct our minds.  Mistakes in our judgement teach us that the cause of such misfortunes is, failure to think first about what we do or say.  Zeal pushes us to act before considering the circumstances and the consequences.

The psalmist considered the two ways. We must daily turn our thinking Godward; through Bible study, prayer, wholesome reading, meditation, and guarding what we watch and do.  The thoughts of our minds are reflected in our actions, and Paul tells us to keep our minds on things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and gracious.

Our minds can help us live witnessing Christian lives.  We must ask Jesus to take possession of our minds as we remember the past, resolve the future and reflect on the present.  We must ask Him to enlarge our minds to be able to think His thoughts and translate them into deeds of love. God ultimately wants us to get rid of stinking thinking!  He wants us to have righteous reasonings!

What are your thoughts right now?  Write them into a prayer.  Pray them to God.

Mar. 26-April 1 What Jesus said...

Dates:  March 26th-April 1st

March 26th:  God Is Merciful

Read: 2 Chronicles 30:9

 Continuously, in The Bible, God is described as a God of mercy. There are almost as many scripture references to God’s mercy as there are references about His love.

Mercy and love are two separate characteristics, though sometimes they are confused or used inter-changeably.  The Bible says, “God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

The Bible also says that “The Lord your God is gracious and merciful.”  Love describes a way God feels and acts towards us; mercy describes a way that God reacts to our condition.  The dictionary defines love as “an affection based on admiration or benevolence.”  It also says that love is “a warm attraction.”  It describes mercy as “a compassion or forbearance shown to an offender or subject.”  It calls mercy “a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion.”  Love, then is that feeling God has toward us, whom he has created.  Mercy is an attitude God takes toward us who are not worthy of His pardon.

Mercies means “to relieve the miseries.”  God has the power to change our situation and relieve our miseries.  To show mercy is to act in ways that is not required.  God does not have to accept sinful people.  His perfection could cause Him to shun His imperfect creatures.  But because of His mercy, God literally reaches down and touches us who do not deserve such treatment from a Holy Being!

Because of God’s mercy, Jesus paid our price.  It is because of God’s mercy that Jesus died. God’s mercy is reaching down to all of us, through His grace.  He wants all of us to make the choice to live and love Him forever.  But He has given us the option; the choice is ours to make.  We can either claim or reject His mercy.

Today’s Application:  Thank God for His mercy that He has shown to you.


March 27th:  God Is Loving

Read:  John 3:14-18

 God is love.  These words are so few, yet so profound.  If we fail to understand that God is a God of love, then we fail to grasp the full meaning of His personality.  In His sovereignty, God hates sin, judges sin, and punishes sinners.  If it weren’t for God’s love; His sovereignty and holiness would demand that every human being be crushed, judged, condemned to eternal damnation, and destroyed the minute he/she sins.

Because God is love, He loves.  His sovereignty cannot be contained; neither can His love.  Read Romans 5:8. Christ is the ultimate expression of God’s love for us.  Read 1John 4:9. God’s love is something that must be experienced.  The death of Jesus Christ on the cross was God’s greatest expression of His love reaching out to us.  On the cross, God reaches out to us, to touch us and to save us.

The love of God is not something we can earn.  We cannot deserve it by working for it.  We can only experience it.  We cannot barter or bargain for it.  God did not send Jesus to die for our sins because we loved Him so much, that He wanted to do this for us.  God loves us, sinners that we are.  We cannot clean ourselves up to make ourselves worthy of being loved by God.  Christ died for sinners.  God loved the world as no human has ever loved another.

Read Ephesians 2:8,9.  God’s love cannot be earned.  We cannot achieve it.  We can’t do anything to merit it.  If you have to work to obtain something, then it is no longer a gift.  God’s grace is not deserved.  God was in Christ; doing for sinners, not only what we do not deserve and cannot earn; but also doing what we could not and cannot do for ourselves.

God’s love is inexhaustible.  It cannot run out or be depleted.  God’s love is inevitable.  It simply had to be.  He simple could not stand by and watch humanity continue forever lost and operate in spiritual death, and doomed to eternal damnation.  God’s great heart was moved with compassion for us.  He is The Divine Initiator and The Great Originator.  He brought the means for our salvation.  God loves us!!!!!!

Today’s Application:  How will you respond to God’s love today?  What is His Spirit bringing to your mind?


March 28th:  The Sunday before Resurrection Day

Read:  Matthew 21: 8-11

It was Palm Sunday.  The multitudes in Jerusalem gave an enthusiastic hero’s welcome to Jesus as He entered their city.  The disciples were ecstatic that their master was being hailed as The Messiah.  They wanted Him to assert Himself.  They wanted him to establish His Kingdom.

Despite His three years of public ministry, even those close to Jesus still misunderstood the nature of His kingship and kingdom. The first Palm Sunday, people were eager to hail Him in a public demonstration; as the promised Messiah, as one who, they thought, would restore the kingdom of David.  Jesus did not enter Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to restore the kingdom of David, but to establish His Kingdom in the hearts of men.

The central truth of Palm Sunday forever remains: “Behold, thy King comes unto you.”  Jesus Is, and forever shall be, The King.  On that day, Jesus made a royal entry into the city of Jerusalem and received a royal acclaim.

Today, the body of Christians believers recognizes many phases of the kingship of Jesus.  He Is The King of love, joy, peace, King of glory, and of truth.  He rules and reigns as the Head of the whole Church of the living God.  He is King of and in the lives of His disciples.  His Kingdom is an everlasting Kingdom.  This is The King who makes a triumphal entry every time someone; anywhere on earth, surrenders his life to Him and becomes His disciple.

May The Eternal God, grant that now and forevermore, that Jesus may have a triumphal entry our hearts.  May The King of Glory enter in, while we pay our joyful homage before Him.  Hosanna to The Son of God, our Savior!  All praise to our Conquering King!!!!!

Today’s Application:  What area of your life does Jesus not have lordship?  What things, people, attitude, bondages, concerns, or problems do you need to surrender to Him?


March 29th:  The Sayings from the Cross

Read:  Luke 23: 32-49

The crucifixion of Jesus represents the darkest deed in all of human history.  This was the day and hour when the darkness of the earth had its way.  This wicked world did to Jesus what it willed.  It did not mean that God gave up control of His world.  But God and Jesus, found it necessary to let the world do its worse.  Only so that the world would come to know the depth of God’s love and His power; to redeem through the crucified and risen Savior.

Good Friday, the day when Jesus was crucified, was indeed good.  Behind the tragedy of it, we see the radiance of the unfailing love of God and the limitless forgiveness of Christ.  We see the good in Good Friday, when we as individuals, repent of our sins and accept the Father’s salvation, through faith in the crucified and risen Savior.

As The Savior was enduring the cross, He still was focused on His eternal mission.  For the next few days. we will examine His last sayings on the cross.  Luke 23:34 tells us His first saying.  It was “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”  The first basic need of humanity is forgiveness.  The Bible tells us that, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  The first words from the cross show that, in His darkest hour, Jesus could still feel the infinite love toward those who had brought Him to His death.

The second saying was in verse 43, of Luke 23.  Jesus was upon a cross.  With Him were two thieves being crucified.  Jesus told one of them that, on that day; he (the thief) would be with Him(Jesus), in Paradise.  This word says many things.  First, it says that no matter what we have been or done, Christ forgives us if we are sincerely penitent.  He forgave a man who deserved execution.  It also says that; no matter how dark and dismal our circumstance may be, Jesus has the power to turn darkness into light.  

Finally, this word says that eternal love is bound up with Christ.

Today’s Application:  What is it that you need to ask God to forgive?  Pause and do that now.


March 30th: The Sayings from the Cross continued…

Read: John 19:26, 27; Matthew 27:46; John 19:28

 The Third Word:  John 19: 26, 27

It is a dynamic moment.  Jesus hangs on the cross, the crowds were pressing in on every side.  Jesus is almost forsaken by those whom He loves the most and for whom He is giving His all.  Through all of the pain and agony, He sees His mother.  He looks at her.  The man standing near her is John.  Jesus can barely turn His head and direct His eyes, but He grips His mother with those eyes and speaks the words of love, “Woman, behold thy Son. His words echo in our hearts today.  There is love at the cross.  Two things are equally clear here, Jesus would not let His family ties come before His duty to God and the Kingdom, and He loved His mother so much that in His dying agony, He could think about her.  Jesus wants those who shared, and now shares His love; to love one another.

The Fourth Word:  Matthew 27:46

This is one of Jesus’ two, Old Testament quotations on the cross.  It offers our deepest insight into the cost of our salvation. Jesus cried out to His Father, “My God, My God!  Why have you forsaken Me?”  Sin’s price could never have been paid, unless The Savior had the sense of being utterly abandoned by God.  Here is the expression of the ultimate in loneliness.  Even in such moments Jesus did not yield to bitterness, nor did He surrender to defeat.  The truth is that we are never alone.  God is always nearer than we know; closer than we think.  His abiding presence surrounds us every hour of the day and of the night.  We may think that we are forsaken, but He is always near.

The Fifth Word:  John 19:28

No physical suffering is more torturous than burning thirsty.  Spoken from the cross, the Savior’s words, “I thirst,” represents the cry of universal need.  He, too, experienced burning thirst.  In calling for water, the Son of God identified Himself with all mankind.  He knows our greatest physical need.  Above and beyond our longing for refreshing water, there is a much greater need:  spiritual refreshment for dying souls.  We often live in moral and spiritual deserts.  The hot, angry sun of sinful pride, selfishness, godlessness burns down upon us.  Our souls are in danger of perishing.  Christ, Himself brings the cool, soul-satisfying water which gives new life.

Today’s Application:  Finish this prayer, Dear God I thirst for_________


March 31st:  The Sayings from the Cross continued….

Read:  John 19:30; Luke 23:46

 The Sixth Word:  John 19:30

Jesus’ words, “It is finished,” contains deep spiritual meaning.  A few hours before Jesus was crucified, He had said in the high priestly prayer: “I have finished the work which you have given Me to do.”  He had put into operation the divine plan of redemption.  “It is finished.”  Rich overtones of joy and triumph find outlet in these words, because Jesus has fulfilled The Father’s purpose. He had accomplished His work for man’s eternal good!  All that had been written in the prophets, was fulfilled in this mighty word: “It is finished!”  The whole debt of our sin was paid, and the plan of redemption was finished.  This is the message of the cross.  It is for us to appreciate Christ’s sacrifice, confess our sins, and accept the redemption He offers.

The Seventh Word: Luke 23: 46

“Father, into Your hands, I commit My Spirit!”  This is another Old Testament quotation.  This dismal scene on Calvary ends in triumph.  Jesus’ life was begun, carried out, and now committed at death; into the hands of God.  For us, the message from this prayer is that, we can face any circumstance even death, with confident trust.  We can do this if our lives are lived in a setting of commitment to God and His will.

We must let every day be one in which we commit our own spirits into the hands of God.

Today’s Application:  Regarding the things in your life, emotions, or excuses that you have given to God; finish this sentence:  It is finished_____________________________________


April 1st:  The Power of The Resurrection

Read:  Mark 16:3-6

One of the most important, vital, and extraordinary historical events concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, is His resurrection from the grave.  By this, Jesus fulfilled His promise that He would rise from the dead.  His resurrection demonstrates the mighty working power of God Almighty.

Something greater happened on that Resurrection morning.  A massive stone that laid against the tomb in the garden, was rolled away.  Almighty God spoke. The Lord Jesus Christ, The Lord of Life, rose from the dead.

Christians then, now, and everywhere can testify to His presence and to His dynamic power which forever sustains and gives them life. Those who profess Christ as Savior, know that God broke asunder the bonds of darkness and death.  It is by the power of The Holy Spirit, Who indwells us.  By His power, we can live victoriously.

There is joy in heaven and hope on earth.  We, too may live.  There is great power in our risen and living Lord, to save forever all who will believe in Him.  This Christ is the loving Savior.  He says, Because I live, you shall live also.”  Because He arose, we may also arise to eternal life in and with Him.

Praise God, Good Friday with all its depth of anguish, was not the last word.  In the glory and joy of the Resurrection, Christ triumphed over sin, death, hell and the grave.  Because He lives, we can live victorious lives.

We can live blessed and power filled lives.  We can live lives as children of The Most High God!!!!

Today’s Application:  Click on the two songs below. Or type them to Youtube. One is, “There is Power in The Blood,” sung by Bill Gaither and friends.  The other one is “Because He Lives.”  Be blessed and encouraged! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNzJf8_ZGTM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNRku4Jvtbo

Mar. 19-25 What is God's Character Like?

For the next couple weeks Mrs. Sharon Thrower will be leading us in a study on the attributes of God.  Let's study to know Him better! 

Dates:  March 19-25

Attributes of God

Over the next nine days, we will be studying about the attributes of God.  According to dictionary.com, an attribute is:  a feature, describes an aspect, character, characteristic of a person or thing.  It is something attributed as belonging to a person, thing, or group.

In simple terms, as it relates to God; an attribute describes what God is like.  The more you know what God is like, and the more you spend time with Him; the more you will begin to know God personally.

March 19th:  God Is Ever-present:  Read: Psalm 139:7-12

 This Psalm was one of many written by King David. David was one who totally depended upon God.  He trusted and loved God.  He worshiped and adored God.  No matter what situation or circumstance that David found himself in, he knew that God was always present. Psalm 139 reveals God’s Omniscience (all knowing), Omnipotent (all power), and Omnipresence (ever present and everywhere present).  The God we worship is not just in one place, He is everywhere.

The nature of God is that He who is within us, at the same time can be above and beyond us.  God is not just a mere observer, but He is an ever-present Help in times of trouble.    

Read I Corinthians 6:16. God is intimately involved and very much acquainted with the lives of His children.  If you belong to God, then He indwells you.  This means that Christ literally goes with you, wherever you go. He is deeply embedded in your heart.  When you need Him, He is always there.  God not only cares for you, but He lives within you as a sensitive Presence, an unseen Guest, and a silent Participant in every act that you partake in.

Today’s application: Reread today's scriptures. Make a conscience effort to be mindful of His Presence.  Acknowledge His presence.  Do your activities today please Him? 


March 20th:  God Is All Powerful, God Is All Knowing

Read Revelation 19:6   God is All Powerful

The Lord our God is not just powerful; He is all-powerful.  This means He has all power.  God controls all the power in the universe.  He is the source of all power.  He is Omnipotent.  This word can be broken up into two parts.  Omni meaning all, and potency meaning power.  God’s power is greater than the laws of the universe, which He established.  Pause and read Matthew 28:18, what does Jesus say?  Jesus has that power because He is also God.

All power belongs to God.  His power is eternal, infinite, and incomprehensible.  God’s power cannot be restrained, checked, withstood, or frustrated.  No power on earth can match God’s power.

God’s power is greater than the devil’s power.  You must never let the enemy deceive you into thinking that God cannot help you, rescue you, save you or deliver you.  Satan is powerless compared with God.  There is nothing that can equal God’s power.  Read Daniel 4: 35.

God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  God is also all powerful in the past, present and future!

God is All Knowing :   Read Hebrews 4: 12,13

 God knows everything.  There is nothing that God does not know.  He knows what is happening now, what has happened in the past, and what will happen in the future.  He is omniscience, which means all knowing.

God does not forget. He alone knows how much of what to mix together to make a wonderful outcome for our lives. 

His perfect knowledge is available to any believer who will seek it and pray.  Read Romans 8:29. What God decides to do beforehand, based on His all-inclusive knowledge, He does!  God, having foreknown you, did predestine you to be conformed to the image of His Son.

Today’s application: Examine your heart and actions.  What is The Holy Spirit bringing to your mind that you need to change?


March 21st:  God Is Sovereign

Read Psalm 100

 Key verse Psalm 100:3 “Know ye not that The Lord, He Is God.  It is He that made us, and not we ourselves.  We are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.”

 Psalm 100 says this about God: “It is He that has made us, and not we ourselves.”  Moses, the author of Genesis, expressed this same idea in Genesis 1:1 when he states, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

The word sovereign means “a person who has supreme power or authority.; being above all others in character, importance, excellence.”   He does whatever he pleases whether we like it or not!

 God is God.  No human being can ever be God, for God is greater than His creation.  He who creates, is greater that what or who He creates.  God is sovereign because He is the One who is ultimately in control of His creation.  God has given man the freedom to choose right or wrong, good or evil, God or satan, heaven or hell.  God will not make these choices for us.  He lets us make them ourselves.  But He has also determined what the consequences of our choices will be.

Because God is sovereign, nothing happens until it is filtered through God’s permissive will.  God does not will that certain things will happen; He permits them to happen.  He gives each one of us the choice of whether to choose right or wrong.  It is not His desire, nor is it His will for anyone of us to choose evil.  But when we choose wrong, God permits us to make that choice.

God doesn’t change His mind about what is right and what is wrong.  He doesn’t ask us for our advice.  He never makes a mistake.  He is sovereign, irrepressible, unconquerable, immutable, long and the eternal God of grace.  Nothing happens without His permission.  He gave that permission when He gave us our freedom of choice.

God created people.  He gave us our freedom.  He lets us exercise our freedom.  And in the end, The Sovereign God will judge how we used our freedom.  All God sets out to do, He does.  All He has ever been, He Is.  His will cannot be frustrated.  His church cannot be crushed.  His Word cannot pass away.  His promises cannot fail.  His plans cannot be thwarted.  His power cannot be resisted.  He who created us, who could so easily damn and destroy us; is the very One who cherishes us so much that He gave Himself for us.  He is our Sovereign.

  For today’s application and meditation, click on the link below, and listen to the song entitled “Sovereign” by Darryl Coley, or go to youtube and type in; Sovereign by Darryl Coley.

 Click on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JltQV7Sv3nA 


March 22nd:  God Is Holy

Read:  Leviticus 19:2 and Leviticus 11:44

 The characteristic of holiness describes God and sets Him apart from mankind.  The closest definition that we can come to, describing the Holiness of God is, “having a spiritually pure quality; inspiring fear, awe, sacred.”  The Lord so structured this word holy, as it describes Him, that it defies definition.  Holiness is not of man.  It is not of human invention.  Holiness, as it relates to God, is above sin.  That which is sinful cannot be holy.

God’s holiness acts as a balance to other aspects of His nature.  Though He is a God of love, The Lord is constrained to set Himself completely against sin and sinners.  Everything that God has created is set in motion against sin.  If we break God’s laws, we will suffer.  God loves us and wants to redeem us.  But God’s holy nature will not tolerate our opposition to Him.  Sin and disobedience are in opposition to God.

If we love Him who first loved us, then we would want to be more like Him.  Read Romans 12:1. There should be no halfway, halfhearted reaction to the holiness of God.  God does not want an unclear response to His holiness.  The holiness of God demands clear-cut decisions. God has placed His unalterable stand of difference between clean and unclean; right and wrong; obedience and disobedience; sinful living and right living.

Read Isaiah 6:1-6.  After Isaiah saw the holiness of God, he was never the same.  Nothing will change our lives like an insight into God’s holiness.  The gap between God’s holiness and our unholiness can be bridged.  By believing and trusting God, through Jesus Christ, the gulf between our unholiness and God’s holiness can be crossed.  Because of God’s imputed righteousness, we can be justified before our holy God.  God reaches out to us in love. Read Psalm 111:9. God’s Son shed His blood on the cross to save people from their sins, and to move them from sinfulness toward holiness.  We cannot worship our holy God apart from the imputed rightness of His amazing grace. The word imputed means to attribute/give righteousness to us because of Christ’s dying for our sins. We are declared right before God because Jesus paid the price for us.

For today’s application, click on the below link.  Listen to the song, “Lord, You’re Holy,” by Mississippi Mass Choir. Or go to youtube, and type in the name of the song and the name of the mentioned choir. Worship God’s holiness. Click below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2JydNknVI0 


March 23rd:  God Is Unchanging

Read:  Malachi 3:6 and James 1:17

 God does not change!  He Is the same as He was in the beginning, and He will be the same forevermore.   God is immutable, which means permanent and unchanging.  He can be depended on to be what He has always been.  His word, His laws, His Holiness, His love, and His sovereignty will not change.   

People can be fickle and they change a lot, but you can depend upon the fact that God will never change.  God is still in control.  No matter what is going on in our lives, this nation, or in the world, God is in control.  He does not change.

 God can be counted on, and He is always the Victor!  He is the stable factor in the universe.  His Word is the accurate record of His unchanging, immutable nature.  What He determines in His holiness and sovereignty, He accomplishes in His love and power.  We can depend and rely upon God.

God is forever the same.  His love is eternal.  His mercy never ceases.  He never sleeps, yet He is never tired.  His provision for us is never diminished.  He meets all of our needs according to His riches in glory by Jesus Christ.  Our faith should rest in our unchanging God.  Only God is secure.  Only God is unchanging.

Today’s application:  Make a list of things that does not change about God.  Make a list of things that do need to change about you.  Now, ask the Holy Spirit to help you to make those changes in your life.


March 24th: God Is Just

Read:  Isaiah 45:21, Psalm 11:7, Romans 1:17

 The definition of the word just is: guided by truth, reasons, justice and fairness; done according to principle; based on right, lawful; in keeping with truth; righteous.

When we speak of God as being just, it is another way of saying that God is righteous.  His just and righteous nature work constantly to balance the scales of justice for His creation.

To say that God is just, means that God’s ways are the very essence of justice.  God is the definition of what it means to do justly and walk uprightly.  To say that God is just, is also another way of saying that God is fair.  He is set apart from all mankind in His holiness, sovereignty, and His absolute rulership.

As a just God, He is generous, exhibits loving kindness, as well as understanding.  He is our Judge.  Our judgement from Him will be based upon our faith in His Son Jesus Christ, the begotten Son of The Father.  Jesus, for us sinners, became a man and died for us.  He was resurrected, so that we may have eternal life.  Read I John 5:11-13.

The greatest indication of the just nature of our God was the birth, life, death, and resurrection of His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

God has taken His just nature, and justified us to Himself through Jesus Christ.  Read Romans 5:1. The word justify means to stand in a state of rightness before God.  It is just as though I had never sinned.  Justification is a state, a standing, a possession of righteousness wherein, I appear in the Father’s eyes in a state of absolute perfection on the basis of His imputed righteousness.  If we are justified, we are accepted in the beloved. (Ephesians 1:6)

 Today’s application:  In your own words, write what it means that God is just. 


March 25th:  God Is Faithful

Read:  Psalm 46:1,2; Psalm 71:3; Psalm 36:7

 The word faithful means:  true to one’s word, promises, vows; loyal, steady in allegiance or affections; reliable, trusted, or believed; true, righteous.

God is faithful.  He does what He promises to do.  What He says, He does! 

God’s love is dependable.  He has revealed His purposes to us: through His Word, through the life of Christ, and through the help and leading of His Indwelling Spirit.  God is at work in our lives, even when we don’t realize it.  He also works in our lives and in our behalf, when we call upon Him to help us.

God gives us the strength to face up to those moments and times when life is not what we want it to be.  He gives us the strength to take the bad moments, and turn them into better situations.  God has a higher purpose for our lives than we are able to understand.

God is not our servant, answering to our beck and call.  This is not what it means when we say that, God is faithful.  God is faithful to His Word.  There are times when we go through those rough and tough seasons of life.  Sometimes we may feel that God does not appear to come through with what we have asked.  But that is from our perspective.  From God’s perspective, the answer may be different.  God is faithful to His purpose for our lives.

Assignment:  Think of a time in your life when God was faithful to you.  Write Him a thank you note for His faithfulness during that season of your life.

Mar. 12-18 What Kingdom Are You Living In?

Mar. 12 – (Luke 14:7-11) The Parable of the Wedding Feast. What is this parable about?  Is it where to sit at a social or wedding reception? I think it mostly has to do with humility and pride.  Pride is expecting or announcing what we have done or accomplished. Letting others see “how great we are”.  Humility is knowing all that we are and have accomplished is only through gifts and abilities and favor God has put in us to do for His glory and not our own glory.  Humility happens when we realize we don’t have rights so much as privileges.  And they are not for our edification but for His glory to be shown.  Selah


Mar. 13 – (Luke 14:7-11) The Parable of the Wedding Feast.  Let me share an experience I always think about when I read this passage.  Many, many…many years ago, a shower was given for me.  I was very young and really didn’t know etiquette on how things were done.  I had gotten my plate of food and turned to find a place to sit.  Most seats were taken but there was a table at the front so I thought that was where I was supposed to sit.  So, I moved a few things away to sit down. Someone came over and told me that was not for eating at, it was just for decoration.  Every time I read these verses, I feel the shame and embarrassment of that moment.  It was and is a great reminder that these things are up to God.


Mar. 14 – (Luke 15:11-32) The Prodigal Son.  Some think we have misplaced the importance of this parable.  Maybe it should read: “The Perfect Father”.  Consider the father’s actions.  He does not demand the son stay at home where he can protect him.  He probably knows this will not be good for the son.  He may have even discussed the pitfalls of these actions but in the end allowed the son to make his own decision.  Did the father then “write him off” once he had left the house and went away?  Instead he waited and watched for his return.  And when he saw the son returning, he immediately made preparations for a celebration.  He did not require the “I’m sorry” before he received the son. This is so like our Heavenly Father.  He gives everyone the choice even when he knows what will follow when we don’t choose Him.  He is always “watching” for our return and will celebrate upon our return.  Selah


Mar. 15 – (Luke 15:11-32) The Prodigal Son.  Now let’s look at the eldest son.  Was he any less “prodigal” than the youngest son?   Most people would say he was the “good” son.  He stayed home and did what dad said to do.  But when the younger son came back, he got mad.  His conversation with his dad and his actions show us many things.  He was haughty, pious, unforgiving, judgmental, self-seeking, and vain just like the Pharisees!  And we know what Jesus said about them!  As I think about this older brother, I wander how many of us clean ourselves up (at least from outward appearance), and then downplay all the “poor sinners” who still don’t have their act together.  Is that watching and receiving in celebration, one who was lost and now is found? Selah


Mar. 16 – (Luke 16:1-9) The Parable of the dishonest Manager.  I must admit; this parable is one of the hardest for me to understand.  Why would the Lord even use an example of improper or deceitful actions as something we need to incorporate into our redeemed life?   As I studied it further, I began to see some things I have always missed because I was stuck at the thought of even incorporating his actions.          

                There seems to be two important lessons here: 1. The wise use of opportunities. Just like the man in the parable, we are stewards. Everything we have and are, was given to us to use for Him.  We are stewards of our time, our gifts and abilities, and the Gospel. When we stand before the judgement seat, we will be held accountable. The Bible says we will not be judged for our sins.  Jesus Christ died for them and rose again so that they are gone forever (Heb. 10:17). We will be judge on our works. This judgement will determine the reward we will receive (I Cor. 3:11-15).  Here’s the bottom line: If we put as much time, gifts and abilities into telling others about Jesus as we do into our “special interest” such as cooking or physical health or playing golf etc., when it all burns up and we stand before God, we will have rewards that cannot be destroyed!  2. The danger of covetousness. This man wanted worldly things…at all costs.  The Lord Jesus did not commend this steward for his unethical actions.  He commended him for his wise use of his opportunities. If believers would make as wise decisions as businessmen do – but with the right motives- they would accomplish more for the kingdom of God.  The Bible says to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves (Matt. 10:16). Enough for today to ponder!


Mar. 17 – (Luke 16:1-9) The Parable of the dishonest Manager. Let’s keep in mind that the Parable of the Unjust Steward was given just after the famous Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15).  When you put the two parables together, and look at the three persons involved (the prodigal, the elder brother, and the steward), you can see three different philosophies of life.  1. The prodigal’s philosophy was to waste life.  He lived for the moment and had no thought for the future. 2. The elder brother’s philosophy was simply to spend his life. He did what he was told and hoped that the future would be better. (kind of like, “I will endure this life and do what is expected, so I can be happy in Heaven.”)  3. The steward learned there was a third philosophy, apart from wasting life and spending life.  Instead of destroying his future by living only for the present (like the prodigal), or destroying his present life by hoping for the future (like the elder brother), he could live the present in the light of the future.  He used his present opportunities to assure himself a secure future.  Just remember, Jesus did not approve the way he did it, but He commended him that he did it.  Someone said: the safest investment in not real estate, it is, if we are to go to the Book, men! Selah


Mar. 18 – (Luke 16:19-31) The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. Jesus mainly spoke about common things in their environment, a field, farmers, a wedding.  But this parable takes us to the next world. Jesus put something into this story most men do not see in life until the day they know they are going to die.  It’s only in dying that we will really know what eternity will be like for the redeemed and for those who did not choose Jesus Christ as their Savior.  We don’t want to think about dying, like it is a dreadful thing.  We feel that way by the ties we have made in this world. Here’s a comparison: I try to remember that my children are on loan. They were given to us to steward with love and discipline like our heavenly Father does to us, for a time.  But eventually they need to be released into His care as we were from our parents.  Our life here as a Christian is supposed to be like that. It’s to steward what He gives us for His glory for a time…. Selah.

Mar. 5-11 More and More Kingdom Living

Mar. 5 – (Matt. 25:14-30; Lk 19:11-27) Parable of the Talents.  This parable hits home to me.  I have always been interested in what gifts God has given specific people.  It makes me sad when I see gifts in people that they don’t use or think they are not as important as some other gift.  If course, I wonder sometimes when God gets sad, because I don’t use what He has given me.  And then there is the thought that so and so has so many talents, let’s let them do it all because they can do it better than one’s self.  God holds us accountable to what He has given us.  Here’s a question: Which is fuller, a quart jar or a gallon jar? If each has been fill to capacity, then each is full, and neither can hold any more.  We are not asked to accomplish any more than we are able with the abilities God has given us.  God has a plan for every life; He intends everyone to be busy somewhere in His kingdom.   Wherever your talents lay, God gave them to you, and He requires you to be found faithful in the use of them.  “It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful (I Cor. 4:2). Last question: How much of yourself are you hoarding from God?  How much of you lies buried? SELAH


Mar. 6 – (Matt. 25:14-30; Lk 19:11-27) Parable of the Talents.  This parable in Luke was a little different from the Matt. 25 Parable.  We know 3 facts about the faithful servants.  1. They knew their responsibility.  “Do business until I come.” 2. They did their job faithfully (The faithful ones did.) 3. They were rewarded for their faithfulness. Note not all the servants had the same success.  We must not expect everyone to produce the same results.  We are to do our best with what God has given us to do…that is all.  We also know 3 facts about the unfaithful servant.  1. He knew his job but did not do it. 2. He was unfaithful because his heart was not right with his master.  3. His unfaithfulness cost his reward.  He lost his opportunity.  Are we talking our salvation?  Absolutely not, but let’s ponder what parts we are faithful in and what parts God is showing us our unfaithfulness in what He has given us to do.  Selah


Mar. 7 – (Lk. 10:25- 37) Parable of the Good Samaritan. As we look at this parable today, I would like to look at all the people involved except the Good Samaritan.  I am asking myself if there is any part of me I see in them.  1. The lawyer: He was an expert in OT law.  He thought he could trip Jesus up by debate. (One of the best ways to get nothing done is to discuss it.)  Jesus responded with a story about action (or lack thereof).  The lawyer wanted to talk about the abstract theme of neighborliness.  Jesus pulled him down to a concrete incident about a man who had been beaten and robbed.  The important question was not “who is my neighbor?” but “to whom can I be a neighbor?” 2. The thieves: They did not see a fellow human being or a creature made in the image of God.  They saw someone they could exploit, no matter what it took to get what they wanted. God gave us things to use and people to love.  If we start loving things, we will start using people, and this is exploitation.  3. The Priest and the Levite: Have you ever been specifically serving the Lord one day and on your way home saw a person in need and felt prompted to aid them but thought you had done enough and were really tired so you went on home? How about you saw a need but figured someone else would take care of it? If we go through life wanting to have our own way (at those times) then people who need us will be nuisances to us.  But if we go through life seeking to share the love of Christ, every “nuisance” will become an opportunity for ministry to glorify God. Selah   4. The Inn host: I know we didn’t expect him to be out on the road when he had an inn to manage but let’s look at it from a little different angle.  I want to use the host to illustrate the fact that many Christians serve other people only because it is their job and they are paid to do it. I am not necessarily talking pay checks either.  Why do I serve in any capacity?  Is it because I feel it’s the right “Christian thing” that is required of me? Motive has a great deal to do with it.  Am I serving because it is part of my salvation or serving in love, seeking to please Jesus Christ? When it’s the latter, we should have satisfaction and blessing.  Selah  


Mar. 8 – (Lk. 10:24-37) Parable of the Good Samaritan.  Today let’s look at the Good Samaritan, himself. There are so many facets of this man but I would like to focus on his compassion (v. 33). This compassion was more than pity. It carries the idea of inner being deeply moved and stirred to action. It is the same word that described our Lord’s feelings when He beheld lost sinners.  It is this kind of love that moves us to serve others and not think of ourselves. This word in the NT is usually in reference to Jesus Christ.  However, in three of His parables Christ uses the word with reference to people: in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, in the story of the king who had compassion on the dishonest servant and forgave him (Matt. 18:23-25), and in the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), where the father saw his wayward son and had compassion on him.  Compassion describes the way God feels about us.  When we show compassion to others, we are simply treating them the way God has treated us, “We love, because he first loved us.” (1 Jn. 4:19).


Mar. 9 – (Lk. 12:16-21) Parable of the Rich Fool. Is this parable talking about being rich?  How many possessions and wealth does one need to be considered rich?  I think it depends on the person making the judgement.  It seems each man may reserve the word “rich” for another man with more. So, at what point is being rich constitute being a fool?  Wealth is no more a sin than poverty is a virtue.  Jesus said that love of money – not money itself – is the root of evil.   If we are collecting wealth and not giving some away we are being a fool.  Of course, 10% goes to the Lord.  What about beyond that?  So many times, we bump into people who are in need of something that we already have or can provide.  Yet we talk ourselves out of it because ours just might break and we want a backup.  Sometimes it’s from wanting more and sometimes it’s from fear of poverty but both come from wanting to trust yourself instead of God.  I came from a family where my mother lived through the great depression.  She came from a family of 8 children and being the oldest child was probably more aware of the situation than the rest of the kids.  As a result, we grew up with the mentality that you saved everything and anything that got broken got fixed, not replaced.  As an adult, there was always a fear in me that one small slip and we would lose everything.  God has gently showed me that this fear was not of Him. I was trusting in my actions to save me instead of trusting Him and doing what I needed to do and letting Him do the rest.  Selah


Mar. 10 – (Lk. 12:16-21) Parable of the Rich Fool.  Let’s look at this parable from a spiritual perspective.  Yes, I think it mainly speaks of wealth but is there more? (Always!) Many times, we spend our days making sure we are physically (I hope), mentally, and emotionally well.  But do we think about our spiritual well being?  What about others?  We tend to pray for others who are not well physically, emotionally or mentally but when we see people who are being foolish with their spiritual lives are we just as concerned?  As we think about that, let me end with Jesus’ conclusion: the fool is “he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”  Selah


Mar. 11 – (Lk. 13:6-9) Parable of the Barren Fig Tree. Most commentaries say this is about Israel’s last chance to get with the “REAL Messiah”.  It is a parable that pronounces an alarm, for it pronounces His nation’s doom and in the same breath announces a stay of execution…for a time. As you read this passage, think back to what precipitated God’s actions toward them. Then think about our country.  We were not God’s first choice but He made a way for everyone in every nation to call Him Father.  Would we be any less “disciplined” than His first choice in children?  That got me to thinking about where America is spiritually and just how long God will be patient with us and keep “digging up the soil and fertilizing it”.  In my American mind I always thought the end of American would come when Jesus comes again.  How silly. God has orchestrated nations to rise and fall according to His plan and purposes.  It’s silly to think America is somehow exempt from His judgement if He has done all the digging and fertilizing and still see no fruit.  Selah

FEB. 26- MAR. 4 THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS LIKE....

We have just finished our 21 Day Fast!  Did you join us?  I have never heard God so clearly as during this time!  I am so thankful!  I pray you have experienced a life changing season of prayer and fasting as well.  We will continue to see how His kingdom on earth (as it is in heaven) is supposed to be.  May we have courage to allow Him to make it more real in our lives.


Feb. 24 – (Matt. 13:51-52) New and Old Treasures -I love one comparison of the first parable (the parable of the sower) with this one.  The sower and the householder both speak of the treatment of God’s Word by the individual recipient.  The one tells how it is to be received into the heart and to be allowed to bear fruit.  The other speaks of the heart as a treasury filled with the gathered “good fruit” that he gives away.  The householder brings out his stores for the benefit of others.  The parable of the sower represents how we receive, keep, and grow His fruit. The parable of the householder proves that the best way of keeping His fruit, is to give it to others.  Selah


Feb. 25 – (Matt. 18:10-14; Lk. 15:3-7) The Lost Sheep - Have you ever read “A Shepherd looks at the 23rd Psalm by Philip Keller? It helps to understand the impact of our Good Shepherd on us “poor” sheep.  Sheep are easily led astray. They keep their heads to the ground, busily nibbling, satisfying only the needs of their stomachs, often wandering off to find new grazing pasture and losing sight of the group.  A good shepherd will keep an eye on all the sheep and at the moment one is not back in the “fold” at the end of the day, will keep those in the fold in a safe place while he goes out to find that one who is missing.  Jesus is our Good Shepherd.  I think the timing and methods of “finding the one lost sheep” varies with each of us but “find us” He will!  Selah


Feb. 26 – (Matt. 18:23-35) The Unforgiving Servant –  WOW, this one really impacted me! The unforgiving servant owed 10,000 talents to his master.  One talent was 20 years’ worth, so multiply that by 10,000!  The fellow servant owed 100 denarii which equaled about 20 weeks of wages. Just as the master forgave the unpayable debt, God forgave our unpayable debt.  We just had to ask.  What came to my mind about the unforgiving servant was his actions showed he did not take ownership of his sin.  I picture him thinking it wasn’t his fault he mishandled funds, it was the other guy(s) who borrowed from him and didn’t pay him back. We have to first admit our sins to Jesus.  When we receive forgiveness, we also have to experience forgiveness.  (It’s one thing to receive a gift and another to have that gift do something to your heart.)  The evidence of that knowledge taken to heart is in forgiving others…every day…no matter the offense.  SELAH


Feb. 27 – (Matt. 21:28-32) The Two Sons Which “son” are you (or me)? I think we would all say we are like the first son. We said no to Christ first but then said yes at our conversion.  Whew!  Off the hook on this one!  Let’s be careful.  Do we ever “play church”?  We go, we sing with gusto, we tell those who ask that we are blessed and then we go home and nothing ever changes inside us.  I would say I am a hypocrite if I don’t grow in Him somehow through my days.  In those moments I am more like the second son who said yes and then didn’t show by his actions what he had agreed to.  We all do it (hopefully only at times).  When it happens, we have to be aware and we repent. The good news is we can still experience the kingdom of God (vs. 31).  It will just be a little later than some others!  Selah


Feb. 28 – (Matt. 21:33-44; Mk. 12:1-11; Lk. 20:9-18) The Tenants - What does this parable show us? Certainly, it reminds us that God chose the Jewish nation first but as they rejected Jesus, Gentiles were included in the salvation choice.  Let me quote a skit David A. Redding (from The Parables He Told) wrote describing how it may apply to us. Keep in mind the book was publish in 1962 which helps us understand the comparisons. “This skit (parable) has caught man red-handed in his most characteristic crime – playing God.  While God’s back is turned, or He has momentarily left the room, man has rebelled and taken over the class himself.  The parable’s picture is brutally honest.  Earth gives man his chance to prepare his lessons, invest his talents and get ready for the examination.  But what has he done?  He has exploited this study hall to put his own feet under the Teacher’s desk.  And in the laboratory, in open defiance of His text, he has mixed the materials to his own advantage to feather what he has the nerve to call his own nest.  And if he can’t get his own way he threatens to blow up the schoolhouse with an atomic concoction.”

                Here is one more passage that impacted me, from the same book.  “How many men act like trustees with their ‘time, talents, possessions’?  Modern living seems a mad scramble for ‘Squatter’s Rights,’ without the slightest regard for the One who made us and left us here.  Life behaves as a huge recess.  We don’t have to answer to anyone except ‘they’.  No one supposes he is subject to some superior audit.  How many bind up the scattered pages of their daily activities into a supreme record of stewardship?  The average man’s plans are ultimately pension plans.  Perhaps he divides up his estate fairly for his family in his will.  But he acts as if he were dividing up ‘mine’ instead of ‘thine.’” Selah


Mar. 1 – (Matt. 22:1-14; Lk. 14:16-24) The Wedding Feast - Did you know that God is the life of the Party?  We don’t know what it is to have a good time until we have celebrated with Him!  The gospel stands for Good News.  He has invited us to attend.  In this parable we see a king who invited the guests to come to the wedding celebration of his son.  But all the invited guests made excuses.  Let’s look at the reasons and see how they apply to us today.  First invited guest: “I am too busy with my financial portfolio”.  Second invited guest: “Taking care of my possessions needs to come first.”  The third invited guest: “My wife (my family) needs to come first.”  Last, one who came: “I’m here for what I can get but refuse to do what is required to be here.” 

                For the first three guests, it is tragic when these good things cease to serve God and start serving as excuses to be away from Him. These “good things” are not meant to sidetrack us but to “glorify Him” as He sees fit.  With the fourth guest, I see him as acknowledging God but not submitting to the requirements of being there (accepting Jesus’ robe of righteousness).

                One last statement: God will not let our stubbornness ruin His celebration! Selah


Mar. 2 – (Matt. 25:1-13) The Ten Virgins – Let’s get a little background first.  As God called himself Israel’s “husband” in the OT, so Jesus pictures himself here as a bridegroom.  It was Jewish marriage custom for the groom and his friends to leave his home and go to the home of the bride.  The marriage ceremony was conducted there, often at night.  The entire wedding party then returned to the groom’s home for a celebration banquet.  There is so much here, but I want you to do a little digging for yourself and what the Lord would say to you.  The entire point of this parable:  You must be ready for the best that could happen to you, for the all-important events in your life.

Feb. 19-25 Week 3 - Prayer and Fasting

 Feb. 19 - Jesus changes me from selfish to selfless   by Danny Graves

 Morning and Evening Meditation: Read: 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13

Pray: That you will understand and experience God’s love in such a way that it causes you to love others in the same way.

Devotional: Read: Mark 10:43-45

No doubt many of us have heard this statement that in our early years as children we were selfish.  We were born selfish, wanting to have our way, wanting what is ours, and most of the time wanting it when we want it. For example, have you ever watched a small child play with their toys?  Have you or another person (maybe another child) tried to play with that child’s toys?  What typically happens? The child sees you playing with their toy, runs up to you, snatches the toy out of your hand, and yells, “Mine!”  Typical behavior for young children. The challenge for many of us, however, is that as we get older, that selfishness doesn’t necessarily change.

There have been names or phrases coined to identify generations of people who demonstrate that selfish kind of attitude. The so-called Millennial Generation was dubbed the “Me! Me! Me! Generation”, the Baby Boomer Generation was known as the “Me Generation”, both largely due to their perceived selfishness and excessive interest in themselves.  I’ve even heard of something known as Individualistic Christianity the idea being it’s all about me!

I recently came across a devotional that challenges us to look at God’s creation as we really are - children of God.  The writer puts it this way. “The Bible says that we are created in the image of God. You! You are made to be like Him.  If you really embrace that, then you will realize you were made not to be selfish, or self-absorbed, you were made to serve, to help, and to be there for others.”

If you call yourself a Christian, that means you want to live like Jesus. And if you look at the life of Jesus, it was all about other people.  Jesus was always helping people, healing people, loving people, serving people, - the list goes on and on.

Remember the WWJD fad? (What Would Jesus Do) If you want to be like Jesus and truly live a Christian life, that means you do the same.  Live like you believe you were created in the image of God. Serve others like you are living out the life of Jesus.

Question: How intentional are you?  Do you look for ways that you can serve others?  Have you considered how you can serve in your community, your local schools, your church?

Prayer Challenge: Pray that you will learn to love people and to help people without expecting anything for yourself. 

Next Step : Challenge yourself every day to look for opportunities – big or small – to serve, help, love, and be there for others.  When you do this, you’ll be living the way God created you to live.


Feb. 20 - Jesus changes me from broken to whole   by Emily Vaas

 Morning and evening meditation: Read: “Behold, I am making all things new.” Rev. 21:5. “He has made everything beautiful in its time." Ecc. 3:11

Pray: Stop and be still for a moment. Ask the Lord to bring to your mind areas where you have been broken, hurt or wounded. These areas are most likely areas that you don’t need to look back too far to remember or recall. They may even be very present in your life at this very moment. Many of the memories are probably not places you want your mind to go, but they are necessary for healing. 

Devotional: Read: Psalms 31:14-24 

When we hear the word “broken,” we typically disassociate its meaning with happy thoughts, future dreams, or comfortable life experiences. Being broken is not often on our “to do” list. It's often painful and wearisome. We are joined by a large list of famous men, like David, Saul (later Paul), and even Abraham. These men had to go through a period of brokenness to be used by God. In the New Testament, the word “broken” is often associated with the broken body of Christ. Yes, even Christ was not exempt from brokenness.

So what is brokenness? What is its purpose? If Christ was not exempt from it, why do we believe we are? Brokenness led David to deep repentance and a reputation as a man after God’s own heart. He faced the death of his son, which brought him to a place where God could grow a king. God didn’t force David to be used by him, David had to become nothing so that the Lord could raise him as a vessel for His purposes. Brokenness led Saul down the road to Damascus, on his way to arrest disciples of the Lord. As Saul, he acted out of hatred against the followers of God, and with the authority of chief priests. But the Lord had a different plan. In Acts 9:15 the Lord tells Ananias that Saul, “is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.” However, for Saul to be used, he had to be become blind and rely on Ananias, one of the very disciples that he hated. He was broken before God, and this brokenness allowed him to become an essential tool to spread the gospel. Lastly, brokenness led Abraham to be the father of many nations. Abraham was broken as he raised the blade in obedience to the Lord. Before his eyes flashed the loss of the promise of God, his future, his son. Only then could God build a nation from a man who was reduced only to his faith in the Lord and the emptying of his will.

The purpose of brokenness, then, is to rid ourselves of any identity, will, agenda, or purpose that is not fully immersed in the Lord. Brokenness; however, is only for a season. Healing comes with the relinquishment of anything that is not fully surrendered to the Lord. In this relinquishment comes a healing unlike anything we could have manifested in our human will.

 Question: In your times of brokenness, what has God strengthened? Is it your faith? Your devotional time? Your love for your spouse? Your love for your family, friends, or parents?

Prayer Challenge : Thank the Lord for His guidance in your life. Thank Him for brokenness that leads to a better understanding of who you are in Him. Thank Him for taking away anything from your life that is not rooted in Him.

Next Step: Write down areas where you have felt broken--broken as a result of others, or as a result of your own choices. What has the Lord showed you during these times to strengthen your relationship with Him? Where has He made you more whole? Use these as a reminder that brokenness leads to vessels that can be built back up in the Lord. 


Feb. 21 - Jesus sends me as sheep among wolves   by Jeremy Gligora

Morning and evening meditation: Read: Matthew 10:16-20

Pray: Ask the Lord today to give you insight as you interact with people to see what is really going on in their hearts and minds.

Ask the Lord for the courage to speak His truth and His good news in any opportunity that will come up without regard to the possible consequences.

Devotional: Read: Matthew 10:16-20

Today’s passage could be titled, “there’s good news and bad news. I’ll start with the bad news”.

“Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves”. Not the most comforting of verses. This word picture was not coined by Jesus, this was a common phrase used in Israel at that time to describe the Roman occupation. Jesus borrows this metaphor and applies it to His disciples as they go out to their own people to spread the gospel. He was telling them up front that sharing the good news isn’t “good news” to everyone, and to some, it will cause to lash out like wolves attacking a sheep.

Sometimes we refuse to share our story or talk about Jesus with others, because we are afraid that we will be rejected, or that we won’t “be good enough” at it and will not be effective. The reality is, that according to Jesus, rejection and retaliation is a common response. Personally, I find this oddly reassuring because it means that I am not responsible for a “positive outcome”, but that’s not the encouragement Jesus offers in this passage. In the end of the passage, Jesus promises that if we will initiate a conversation about Him, He will join us and speak through us! Think about that. There is nothing more satisfying or exciting than experiencing the privilege of being used and empowered by God! If you will step out in faith, by taking advantage of an opportunity to talk about the Lord, Jesus promises that the Spirit of the living God will work through you.

Talking about the Lord can look like many things. You can share with a friend a story about something God did in your life. Offer to pray with someone who is struggling with something. Stand up for what’s right, and explain why, based on your faith, it’s wrong. Meet a need, and then explain how Jesus meets your needs and asks you to pay it forward.

Question: Look back over your last week. What is one situation that you could have turned into an opportunity to share Jesus with someone?

Prayer Challenge: Thank the Lord for the privilege of being used by Him for such an important mission, and then ask the Lord for boldness and vision to be a witness.

Next Step: Write down a plan of how tomorrow you can do something to create an opportunity to tell someone that Jesus loves them.


 Feb. 22 - Jesus sends me to forgive   by Samson Wasao 

Morning and Evening Meditation: Read: Genesis 45:4-8

Pray: Ask the Lord to reveal to you one person that you need to forgive.

Ask for the graciousness and humility to focus on what God is doing in your own life in this area of forgiveness.

Devotional: Read Genesis 45:4-8

 This is one of the most powerful passages in the Bible on how to truly forgive those who have wronged us. Joseph’s brothers had sold him off, made up a story about his disappearance or faked death to their father, and essentially forgot about him. In this passage, they appear before him to buy grain to take back home to their famine-ravaged country. To their shock, he reveals himself to them and surprisingly forgives and embraces them!

I have nursed unforgiveness against a member of my own family for what they said about my wife and me. I have held  a grudge against this person until the Lord clearly revealed to me that I had failed to love the person the way Christ loved me and totally forgave all my sin (1Cor.13:5; Col.3:13). Joseph, in this passage, did not hold any bitterness or a grudge against his brothers (although he had reasons to do so) but fully forgave and embraced them.

 Question: Are you harboring bitterness, a grudge, unforgiveness, or anger against anybody that you can think of-dead or alive? Like Joseph, God is sending you to that person to not count their sin against them but to fully forgive them. 

 Prayer Challenge: Ask God to show you that specific person that you need to go to and forgive this morning. Begin by thanking God for having forgiven you in Christ, and similarly thank God for the other person. Ask God to direct you on how you are going to let the person know that you have fully forgiven them.

 Next Step: Write down a specific action point on how you are going to go to this person and let them know that, although they hurt you, you have totally forgiven them in Christ.


Feb. 23 - Jesus sends me to stand in the gap in prayer   by Samson Wasao

Morning and Evening Meditation: Read: 2 Cor. 1:9-11

Pray: Ask God to reveal to you a specific situation or challenge that you should pray for on behalf of the person or persons that are going through a specific situation or challenge.

 Devotional: Read 2 Cor. 1:9-11

Paul had the spiritual habit of engaging other believers in prayers for him, his companions, his ministry, and for other Christians. Ezekiel calls this “standing in the gap” for others (Ezek. 22:30). Paul expresses confidence in the ability of the Corinthian Christians to pray for him and his companions about the hardships that he and his companions were experiencing while spreading the Gospel in the Province of Asia. He was sure that God works through the prayers of believers. His hope for victory is that as the Corinthian church “helps us by your prayers” this would lead to deliverance by the God who “raises people from the dead”!

When we decided to relocate to the USA to be missionaries among international students and scholars, I personally did not fully understand how much prayer support and encouragement we would need to go on with the ministry. We have been bombarded by many challenges from multiple fronts; health, family relations, finances, as well as obstacles in ministry.  I have been tempted to give up if it weren’t for the prayerful support of my wife and a small team of brothers and sisters, some here in the US, and others in Kenya. They have truly stood in the gap for us and our ministry!

 Question: Whom can you pray for today? Think about individual(s), a group, or an organization that is going through challenges or difficulties.

 Prayer Challenge: Thank God for the privilege of partnership with others in prayer, and ask God to put in your heart a desire to pray regularly for the person(s) or entity.

 Next Step: Ask God to put in your heart a desire to take action in prayer on behalf of the specific person(s) or entity today.


Feb. 24 - Jesus sends me to stand in the gap in actions   by Rye D’Orazio

 Morning and evening meditation: Read Eph 2:8-10

Pray: Ask the Lord today to reveal to you the totality of His handiwork and the call of a life of standing in the gap and “good works.”

Devotional: Read: Eph 2:8-10

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10 reveals that we have been "created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." This raises an obvious question: What are the good works God has prepared for me?

Many of us would be inclined to answer this question by pointing to specific things Christians tend to do as an expression of their faith. Good works would include: attending worship services, praying regularly, studying Scripture, giving generously from our financial resources, joining a small group, going on mission trips, caring for the poor, working for justice for the oppressed, loving our neighbors, and so forth. These are surely among the good works God has prepared for us. We rightly engage in these activities as people who have been transformed by God's grace through Christ.

But, if we think of good works only in these terms, we miss the extent to which God's plan for our good works is much broader and deeper. Our translation explains that we are created for good works, "which God prepared in advance for us to do." The Greek original reads more literally, "which God prepared in advance, so that we might walk in them." The language of walking was used by teachers in the time of Paul in the way we might talk of living or engaging in a certain lifestyle. In other words, the good works of verse 10 are not obviously religious activities scattered throughout an otherwise secular life. Rather, the good works encompass the whole of the Christian, all that we do by God's grace for God's purposes.

Ephesians 2:10 is similar to other passages of the Pauline letters that envision all of life as lived through and for God. Romans 12:1, for example, says, "I urge you ... to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God." This offering takes place, not in identified temples, but in everyday life. Similarly, Colossians 3:17 proclaims, "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus."

Therefore, though it's certainly right for you to invest yourself in the life of your church and to engage in works of outreach for the sake of the poor, the oppressed, and those who don't know God's grace in Christ, Ephesians 2:10 would encourage you to learn to see your whole life as an interconnected series of good works offered to God. This means that your good works can include that which you do at work, in the classroom, on the football field, in your neighborhood, and in your community associations. If you're a boss, part of your good works involve the way you manage your employees. If you're a parent, your good works include making dinner for your children as well as praying with them as you tuck them into bed. The more we grow in our faith, the more we see ourselves as God's masterpieces, the more we will indeed do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, by his strength, under his authority, and for his purposes.

 Questions: Do you tend to think of your whole life as an offering of good works to God, or do you tend to think of your good works mainly as activities that are obviously religious? How might your life be different if you began to see your whole life as an offering to God?

Prayer Challenge: Thank the Lord for His handiwork and reflect on thinking more truly and inclusively to see your whole life as an offering to the Lord.

Next Step: See how today you can make every moment of the day an occasion to live good works for the Lord.

Feb. 25  - We have just finished 3 weeks of prayer and fasting.  What has the Lord shown you in this time?  How much of what He has shown you are you putting into daily practice?  As you contemplate what you have learned and how you are applying it, share it with others...share it with us!