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The Word For Life.

If we meet and you forget me, you have lost nothing:
but if you meet JESUS CHRIST and forget Him,
you have lost everything.

Marvelously Unique
Posted:May 21, 2019 4:17 am
Last Updated:May 21, 2019 2:53 pm
7 Views
Bible in a Year:

1 Chronicles –; John 7:1–27
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Psalm 9:

Psalm 9:1-
Human beings are not special—at least according to the London Zoo. In 2005, the zoo introduced a four-day exhibit: “Humans in Their Natural Environment.” The human “captives” were chosen through an online contest. To help visitors understand the humans, the zoo workers created a sign detailing their diet, habitat, and threats. According to the zoo’s spokesperson, the goal of the exhibit was to downplay the uniqueness of human beings. One participant in the exhibit seemed to agree. “When they see humans as animals, here, it kind of reminds them we’re not special.”

What a stark contrast to what the Bible says about human beings: God “fearfully and wonderfully” made us in “his image” (Psalm 9:;
Genesis 1:26–27).

David began Psalm 9 by celebrating God’s intimate knowledge of him
(vv. 1–6) and His all-encompassing presence (vv. 7–). Like a master weaver, God not only formed the intricacies of David’s internal and external features (vv. –), but He also made him a living soul, giving spiritual life and the ability to intimately relate to God. Meditating on God’s handiwork, David responded in awe, wonder, and praise (v. ).

Human beings are special. God created us with marvelous uniqueness and the awesome ability to have an intimate relationship with Him. Like David, we can praise Him because we’re the workmanship of His loving hands.

Reflect & Pray
What are some practical implications of knowing and believing you’re fearfully and wonderfully made? What are some negative consequences of not believing this?

God created human beings to be like Him.
1 comment
Divine Escape
Posted:May 20, 2019 6:11 am
Last Updated:May 20, 2019 8:58 am
103 Views
Bible in a Year:

1 Chronicles 10–12; John 6:45–71
So from that day on they plotted to take his life.

John 11:53

John 11:45-53
Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot mystery The Clocks features antagonists who commit a series of murders. Although their initial plot targeted a single victim, they began taking more lives in order to cover up the original crime. When confronted by Poirot, a conspirator confessed, “It was only supposed to be the one murder.”

Like the schemers in the story, the religious authorities formed a conspiracy of their own. After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:38–44), they called an emergency meeting and plotted to kill Him (vv. 45–53). But they didn’t stop there. After Jesus rose from the dead, the religious leaders spread lies about what happened at the grave (Matthew 28:12–15). Then they began a campaign to silence Jesus’s followers (Acts 7:57–8:3). What started as a religious plot against one man for the “greater good” of the nation became a web of lies, deceit, and multiple casualties.

Sin plunges us down a road that often has no end in sight, but God always provides a way of escape. When Caiaphas the high priest said, “It is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish” (John 11:50), he didn’t understand the profound truth of his words. The conspiracy of the religious leaders would help bring about the redemption of mankind.

Jesus saves us from sin’s vicious grip. Have you received the freedom He offers?

Reflect & Pray
What road are you going down that could take you further away from God? He offers real freedom. What do you need to confess to Him today?
1 comment
The Crooked Steeple
Posted:May 19, 2019 5:20 am
Last Updated:May 20, 2019 6:11 am
118 Views
Bible in a Year:

1 Chronicles 7–9; John 6:22–44
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

2 Corinthians 12:9

2 Corinthians 12:1-10
Turns out that crooked church steeples make people nervous. When we visited some friends, they shared how, after a fierce windstorm, their church’s proud steeple was crooked, causing some alarm.

Of course, the church quickly repaired the flagging spire, but the humorous image got me thinking. Often church is seen as a place where everything is expected to look perfect; it’s not seen as a place where we can show up crooked. Right?

But in a fallen, broken world, all of us are “crooked,” each with our own collection of natural weaknesses. We might be tempted to keep our vulnerabilities under wraps, but Scripture encourages the opposite attitude. In 2 Corinthians 12, for example, Paul suggests that it’s in our weaknesses—for him, an unnamed struggle he calls a “thorn in my flesh” (v. 7)—that Christ is most likely to reveal His power. Jesus had told Paul, “My power is made perfect in weakness” (v. 9). So Paul concluded, “For Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (v. 10).

We may not like our imperfections, but hiding them only denies Jesus’s power to work within those aspects of ourselves. When we invite Jesus into the crooked places in us, He gently mends and redeems in ways our effort could never accomplish.

Reflect & Pray
What are some of the “crooked” places in your life? In what ways have you seen God work through your imperfections?

Invite Jesus into your imperfections for His mending.
1 comment
We Need Each Other
Posted:May 18, 2019 5:55 am
Last Updated:May 18, 2019 12:16 pm
151 Views
Bible in a Year:

1 Chronicles 4–6; John 6:1–21
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.

Colossians 3:15

Colossians 3:12-17
While on a hike with my kids, we discovered a light, springy green plant growing in small clumps on the trail. According to a signpost, the plant is commonly called deer moss, but it’s not actually a moss at all. It’s a lichen. A lichen is a fungus and an alga growing together in a mutualistic relationship in which both organisms benefit from each other. Neither the fungus nor the alga can survive on its own, but together they form a hardy plant that can live in some alpine areas for up to 4,500 years. Because the plant can withstand drought and low temperatures, it’s one of the only food sources for caribou (reindeer) in deep winter.

The relationship between the fungus and the alga reminds me of our human relationships. We rely on each other. To grow and flourish, we need to be in relationship with each other.

Paul, writing to believers in Colossae, describes how our relationships should look. We are to clothe ourselves with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12). We ought to forgive each other and live in peace “as members of one body” (v. 15).

It’s not always easy to live in peace with our families or friends. But when the Spirit empowers us to exhibit humility and forgiveness in our relationships, our love for each other points to Christ (John 13:35) and brings glory to God.

Reflect & Pray
In what ways do your relationships point to Jesus? How can you pursue peace?

Holy Spirit, fill us with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience toward each other so the world may see Your love in us.
1 comment
Gods Amazing Hands
Posted:May 17, 2019 5:17 am
Last Updated:May 17, 2019 2:48 pm
171 Views
Bible in a Year:

1 Chronicles 1–3; John 5:25–47
Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.

Psalm 31:5

Psalm 31:1-8
Twenty minutes into a flight from New York to San Antonio, the flight plan changed as calm gave way to chaos. When one of the plane’s engines failed, debris from the engine smashed through a window causing the cabin to decompress. Sadly, several passengers were injured and one person was killed. Had not a calm, capable pilot been in the cockpit—one trained as a Navy fighter pilot—things could have been tragically worse. The headline in our local paper read, “In Amazing Hands.”

In Psalm 31, David revealed that he knew something about the Lord’s amazing, caring hands. That’s why he could confidently say, “Into your hands I commit my spirit” (v. 5). David believed that the Lord could be trusted even when life got bumpy. Because he was targeted by unfriendly forces, life was very uncomfortable for David. Though vulnerable, he was not without hope. In the midst of harassment David could breathe sighs of relief and rejoice because his faithful, loving God was his source of confidence (vv. 5–7).

Perhaps you find yourself in a season of life when things are coming at you from every direction, and it’s difficult to see what’s ahead. In the midst of uncertainty, confusion, and chaos one thing remains absolutely certain: those who are secure in the Lord are in amazing hands.

Reflect & Pray
Have you committed your life—your earthly and eternal existence and well-being—to God? How are you showing that you are trusting Him in good times and bad?

Father, help me to be encouraged knowing that Jesus prayed Psalm 31:5 when He was on the cross. In the midst of pain and suffering, He committed His life into Your hands.
1 comment
Bear Hug
Posted:May 16, 2019 4:30 am
Last Updated:May 21, 2019 10:20 pm
118 Views
Bible in a Year:

2 Kings 24–25; John 5:1–24
God is love.

1 John 4:16

1 John 4:13-19
“Bear” was a gift for my grandchild—a heaping helping of love contained in a giant stuffed animal frame. Baby D’s response? First, wonder. Next, an amazed awe. Then, a curiosity that nudged a daring exploration. He poked his pudgy finger at Bear’s nose, and when the Bear tumbled forward into his arms he responded with joy joy JOY! Baby D laid his toddler head down on Bear’s fluffy chest and hugged him tightly. A dimpled smile spread across his cheeks as he burrowed deeply into Bear’s cushiony softness. The child had no idea of Bear’s inability to truly love him. Innocently and naturally, he felt love from Bear and returned it with all his heart.

In his first of three letters to early Christians, the apostle John boldly states that God Himself is love. “We know and rely on the love God has for us,” he writes. “God is love” (1 John 4:16).

God loves. Not in the pillow of a pretend animal but rather with the outstretched arms of a real human body encasing a beating but breaking heart (John 3:16). Through Jesus, God communicated His extravagant and sacrificial love for us.

John goes on, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). When we believe we’re loved, we love back. God’s real love makes it possible for us to love God and others—with all our hearts.

Reflect & Pray
What do you find is most amazing about God’s love for you? How will you reveal His love to others today?

Dear God, help me to let You love me and then help me to love You back—with all my heart.
1 comment
When All Seems Lost
Posted:May 15, 2019 5:27 am
Last Updated:May 15, 2019 12:02 pm
102 Views
Bible in a Year:

2 Kings 22–23; John 4:31–54
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Psalm 22:1

Psalm 22:1-5
In just six months, Gerald’s life fell apart. An economic crisis destroyed his business and wealth, while a tragic accident took his son’s life. Overcome by shock, his mother had a heart attack and died, his wife went into depression, and his two young daughters remained inconsolable. All he could do was echo the words of the psalmist, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1).

The only thing that kept Gerald going was the hope that God, who raised Jesus to life, would one day deliver him and his family from their pain to an eternal life of joy. It was a hope that God would answer his desperate cries for help. In his despair, like the psalmist David, he determined to trust God in the midst of his suffering. He held on to the hope that God would deliver and save him
(vv. 4–5).

That hope sustained Gerald. Over the years, whenever he was asked how he was, he could only say, “Well, I’m trusting God.”

God honored that trust, giving Gerald the comfort, strength, and courage to keep going through the years. His family slowly recovered from the crisis, and soon Gerald welcomed the birth of his first grandchild. His cry is now a testimony of God’s faithfulness. “I’m no longer asking, ‘Why have you forsaken me?’ God has blessed me.”

When it seems there’s nothing left, there’s still hope.

Reflect & Pray
What will help you to remember and cling to God’s sure and certain hope of deliverance? How has trusting in God sustained you in a difficult challenge?

Whenever I feel abandoned and alone, I cling to the hope You’ve given me through Christ’s resurrection, that I will be delivered to eternal joy one day.
1 comment
A Kind Critique
Posted:May 14, 2019 4:01 am
Last Updated:May 14, 2019 8:01 am
101 Views
Bible in a Year:

2 Kings 19–21; John 4:1–30
The law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

John 1:17

John 4.7-15
During a landscape painting class, the teacher, a highly experienced professional artist, assessed my first assignment. He stood silently in front of my painting, one hand cupping his chin. Here we go, I thought. He’s going to say it’s terrible.

But he didn’t.

He said he liked the color scheme and the feeling of openness. Then he mentioned that the trees in the distance could be lightened. A cluster of weeds needed softer edges. He had the authority to criticize my work based on the rules of perspective and color, yet his critique was truthful and kind.

Jesus, who was perfectly qualified to condemn people for their sin, didn’t use the Ten Commandments to crush a Samaritan woman He met at an ancient watering hole. He gently critiqued her life with just a handful of statements. The result was that she saw how her search for satisfaction had led her into sin. Building on this awareness, Jesus revealed Himself as the only source of eternal satisfaction (John 4:10–13).

The combination of grace and truth that Jesus used in this situation is what we experience in our relationship with Him (1:17). His grace prevents us from being overwhelmed by our sin, and His truth prevents us from thinking it isn’t a serious matter.

Will we invite Jesus to show us areas of our lives where we need to grow so we can become more like Him?

Reflect & Pray
How is Jesus using grace and truth to point out issues in your life? Where might He want you to make changes to honor Him more fully?

Jesus, thank You for freeing me from the consequences of sin. Help me to embrace Your correction and Your encouragement.
1 comment
A Longing in Stone
Posted:May 13, 2019 4:11 am
Last Updated:May 13, 2019 9:49 am
78 Views
Bible in a Year:

2 Kings –; John 3:–36
I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.

Deuteronomy 34:4

Deuteronomy 34:1-5
“Ah, every pier is a longing in stone!” says a line in Fernando Pessoa’s Portuguese poem “Ode Marítima.” Pessoa’s pier represents the emotions we feel as a ship moves slowly away from us. The vessel departs but the pier remains, an enduring monument to hopes and dreams, partings and yearnings. We ache for what’s lost, and for what we can’t quite reach.

The Portuguese word translated “longing” (saudade) refers to a nostalgic yearning we feel—a deep ache that defies definition. The poet is describing the indescribable.

We might say that Mount Nebo was Moses’s “longing in stone.” From Nebo he gazed into the promised land—a land he would never reach. God’s words to Moses—“I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it” (Deuteronomy 34:4)—might seem harsh. But if that’s all we see, we miss the heart of what’s happening. God is speaking immense comfort to Moses: “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants’” (v. 4). Very soon, Moses would leave Nebo for a land far better than Canaan (v. 5).

Life often finds us standing on the pier. Loved ones depart; hopes fade; dreams die. Amid it all we sense echoes of Eden and hints of heaven. Our longings point us to God. He is the fulfillment we yearn for.

Reflect & Pray
What are your unfulfilled longings? What places in life are you trying to satisfy with wrong things? How can you find true fulfillment in God alone?

The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing—to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all beauty came from
1 comment
Love Won’t Stop
Posted:May 12, 2019 5:20 am
Last Updated:May 12, 2019 4:38 pm
80 Views
Bible in a Year:

2 Kings 15–16; John 3:1–18
Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.

Luke 15:6

Luke 15:1-7
After I turned nineteen, and years before I owned a pager or a cell phone, I moved more than seven hundred miles away from my mom. One morning, I left early to run errands, forgetting our scheduled call. Later that night, two policemen came to my door. Mom had been worried because I’d never missed one of our chats. After calling repeatedly and getting a busy signal, she reached out to the authorities and insisted they check on me. One of the police officers turned to me and said, “It’s a blessing to know love won’t stop looking for you.”

When I picked up the phone to call my mom, I realized I had accidentally left the receiver off its base. After I apologized, she said she needed to spread the good news to the family and friends she had informed that I’d been missing. I hung up thinking she’d overreacted a bit, though it felt good to be loved that much.

Scripture paints a beautiful picture of God, who is Love, relentlessly beckoning His wandering children. Like a good shepherd, He cares about and seeks out every lost sheep, affirming the priceless value of every beloved child of God (Luke 15:1–7).

Love never stops looking for us. He will pursue us until we’ve returned to Him. We can pray for others who need to know that Love—God—never stops looking for them either.

Reflect & Pray
How does it encourage you to know that God continually pursues you in love? How is He using you to reveal His love to others?

Heavenly Father, thank You for pursuing us with persistence and providing a safe place when we return to Your loving arms.
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