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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.

The Battle’s Over. Really.
Posted:Aug 3, 2020 4:49 am
Last Updated:Aug 3, 2020 8:21 am
Bible in a Year:
Psalms 63–65

Romans 6
We were . . . buried with him.

Romans 6:4

Romans 6:1–11
For twenty- years after World War II ended, Hiroo Onoda hid in the jungle, refusing believe his country had surrendered. Japanese military leaders had dispatched Onoda a remote island in the Philippines (Lubang) with orders spy the Allied forces. Long after a peace treaty had been signed and hostilities ceased, Onoda remained in the wilderness. In 1974, Onoda’s commanding officer traveled the island find him and convince him the war was over.

For decades, Onoda lived a meager, isolated existence, because he refused surrender—refused believe the conflict was done. We can make a similar mistake. Paul proclaims the stunning truth that “ of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death” (Romans 6:3). the cross, in a powerful, mysterious way, Jesus put death Satan’s lies, death’s terror, and sin’s tenacious grip. Though we’re “dead sin” and “alive God” (v. 11), we often live as though evil still holds the power. We yield temptation, succumbing sin’s seduction. We listen lies, failing trust Jesus. But we don’t have yield. We don’t have live in a false narrative. By God’s grace we can embrace the true story of Christ’s victory.

While we’ll still wrestle with sin, liberation comes as we recognize that Jesus has already won the battle. May we live out that truth in His power.

Reflect & Pray
How are you tempted to believe that death and sin still hold power over your life? Where can you see Christ’s victory already present in the world?

Jesus, I know You’ve won the battle over evil and darkness. Would You help me to live this out?
1 comment
Kind Correction
Posted:Aug 2, 2020 5:10 am
Last Updated:Aug 3, 2020 4:50 am

Bible in a Year:
Psalms 60–62

Romans 5
Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death.

James 5:20

James 5:19–20
The early spring weather was refreshing and my traveling companion, my wife, couldn’t have been better. But the beauty of those moments together could have quickly morphed into tragedy if it weren’t for a red and white warning sign that informed me I was headed in the wrong direction. Because I hadn’t turned wide enough, I momentarily saw a “Do Not Enter” sign staring me in the face. I quickly adjusted, but shudder to think of the harm I could have brought to my wife, myself, and others if I’d ignored the sign that reminded me I was going the wrong way.

The closing words of James emphasize the importance of correction. Who among us hasn’t needed to be “brought back” by those who care for us from paths or actions, decisions or desires that could’ve been hurtful? Who knows what harm might have been done to ourselves or others had someone not courageously intervened at the right time.

James stresses the value of kind correction with these words, “Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins” (5:20). Correction is an expression of God’s mercy. May our love and concern for the well-being of others compel us to speak and act in ways that He can use to “bring that person back” (v. 19).

Reflect & Pray
What risks or rewards are associated with helping a wanderer find his or her way back to where they belong? When did God use someone to bring you back from a not-so-good place?

Father, keep me from straying from Your truth and grant me courage to help bring back those who are wandering.
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A Divine Duet
Posted:Aug 1, 2020 5:18 am
Last Updated:Aug 1, 2020 5:50 pm
Bible in a Year:
Psalms 57–59

Romans 4
If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.

John 15:5

John 15:1–11
At a ’s music recital, I watched a teacher and student seat themselves in front of a piano. Before their duet began, the teacher leaned over and whispered some last-minute instructions. As music flowed from the instrument, I noticed that the student played a simple melody while the teacher’s accompaniment added depth and richness to the song. Near the end of the piece, the teacher nodded his approval.

Our life in Jesus is much more like a duet than a solo performance. Sometimes, though, I forget that He’s “sitting next to me,” and it’s only by His power and guidance that I can “play” at all. I try to hit all the right notes on my own—to obey God in my own strength, but this usually ends up seeming fake and hollow. I try to handle problems with my limited ability, but the result is often discord with others.

My Teacher’s presence makes all the difference. When I rely on Jesus to help me, I find my life is more honoring to God. I serve joyfully, love freely, and am amazed as God blesses my relationships. It’s like Jesus told His first disciples, “If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

Each day we play a duet with our good Teacher—it’s His grace and power that carry the melody of our spiritual lives.

Reflect & Pray
Why do you sometimes resist the help and encouragement God offers? How could reliance on Him change your outlook and your actions in certain situations?

Dear God, help me to remember that You’re with me in every moment. I welcome Your influence and instruction today. Thank You for Your nearness.
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Shining Light
Posted:Jul 31, 2020 4:14 am
Last Updated:Jul 31, 2020 6:15 pm
Bible in a Year:
Psalms 54–56

Romans 3
Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:

Matthew 5:–
I felt nervous about a five-week prayer class I agreed teach at a local church. Would the students like it? Would they like ? My anxiety was ill-focused, leading over-prepare lesson plans, presentation slides, and class handouts. Yet with a week go, I still hadn’t encouraged many people attend.

In prayer, however, I was reminded that the class was a service that shined light God. Because the Holy Spirit would use the class point people our heavenly Father, I could set aside my nervousness about public speaking. When Jesus taught His disciples in His Sermon on the Mount, He told them, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house” (Matthew 5:–).

Reading those words, I finally sent out a class announcement social media. Almost immediately, people started registering—expressing gratitude and excitement. Seeing their reactions, I reflected more on Jesus’ teaching: “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (v. ).

With that perspective, I taught the class with joy. I pray that my simple deed becomes a beacon and encourages others shine their light for God as well.

Reflect & Pray
When have you felt nervous or self-conscious about sharing your deeds and gifts for God? How can your deeds and gifts help others, and what are ways you can share them?

Jesus, empower let my God-given light shine so others can see and glorify You.
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Touch the Needy
Posted:Jul 30, 2020 4:52 am
Last Updated:Jul 30, 2020 6:41 pm
Bible in a Year:
Psalms 51–53

Romans 2
He put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.

Luke 13:13

Luke 13:10–17
It wasn’t surprising when Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize. True to form, she received the award “in the name of the hungry, of the naked, of the homeless, of the blind, of the lepers, of all those who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society.” Those were the people she ministered to for most of her life.

Jesus modeled how to care for and love the marginalized, regardless of circumstances. Unlike the synagogue leaders who respected the Sabbath law more than the sick (Luke 13:14), when Jesus saw an ill woman at the temple, He was moved with compassion. He looked beyond the physical impairment and saw God’s beautiful creation in bondage. He called her to Him and said she was healed. Then He “put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God” (v. 13). By touching her, He upset the leader of the synagogue because it was the Sabbath. Jesus, the Lord of the Sabbath (Luke 6:5), compassionately chose to heal the woman—a person who had faced discomfort and humiliation for nearly two decades.

I wonder how often we see someone as underserving of our compassion. Or maybe we’ve experienced rejection because we didn’t meet somebody else’s standard. May we not be like the religious elite who cared more about rules than fellow humans. Instead, let’s follow Jesus’ example and treat others with compassion, love, and dignity.

Reflect & Pray
How have you experienced God’s healing and touch? Who can you show compassion to this week?

Jesus, thank You for Your infinite love and incredible compassion for all humans, including those marred by disease and difficulties.
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Grace Outside the Box
Posted:Jul 29, 2020 3:28 am
Last Updated:Jul 29, 2020 8:22 am
Bible in a Year:
Psalms 49–50

Romans 1
Mephibosheth ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons.

2 Samuel 9:11

Today's Scripture & Insight:

2 Samuel 9:1–7
Tom worked for a law firm that advised Bob’s company. They became friends—until Tom embezzled thousands of dollars from the company. Bob was hurt and angry when he found out, but he received wise counsel from his vice president, a believer in Christ. The VP noticed Tom was deeply ashamed and repentant, and he advised Bob to drop the charges and hire Tom. “Pay him a modest salary so he can make restitution. You’ll never have a more grateful, loyal employee.” Bob did, and Tom was.

Mephibosheth, grandson of King Saul, hadn’t done anything wrong, but he was in a tough spot when David became king. Most kings killed the royal bloodline. But David loved King Saul’s Jonathan, and treated his surviving as his own (see 2 Samuel 9:1–13). His grace won a friend for life. Mephibosheth marveled that he “deserved nothing but death from my lord the king, but you gave your servant a place” (19:28. He remained loyal to David, even when David’s Absalom chased David from Jerusalem (2 Samuel 16:1–4; 19:24–30).

Do you want a loyal friend for life? Someone so extraordinary may require you to do something extraordinary. When common sense says punish, choose grace. Hold them accountable, but give the undeserving a chance to make things right. You may never find a more grateful, devoted friend. Think outside the box, with grace.

Reflect & Pray
Who has sinned against you? How might you hold them accountable while also forgiving them?

Father, I’ve received extraordinary grace from You. Help me show that grace to others—especially to those with a repentant spirit.
1 comment
Trusting God in Times of Sorrow
Posted:Jul 28, 2020 4:23 am
Last Updated:Jul 28, 2020 3:44 pm
Psalms 46–48

Acts 28
I know whom I have believed.

2 Timothy 1:12

2 Timothy 1:6–12
When a man known as “Papa John” learned he had terminal cancer, he and his wife, Carol, sensed God calling them to share their illness journey online. Believing that God would minister through their vulnerability, they posted their moments of joy and their sorrow and pain for two years.

When Carol wrote that her husband “went into the outstretched arms of Jesus,” hundreds of people responded, with many thanking Carol for their openness. One person remarked that hearing about dying from a Christian point of view was healthy, for “we all have to die” someday. Another said that although she’d never met the couple personally, she couldn’t express how much encouragement she’d received through their witness of trusting God.

Although Papa John sometimes felt excruciating pain, he and Carol shared their story so they could demonstrate how God upheld them. They knew their testimony would bear fruit for God, echoing what Paul wrote to Timothy when he suffered: “I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day” (2 Timothy 1:12).

God can use even the death of a loved one to strengthen our faith in Him (and the faith of others) through the grace we receive in Christ Jesus (v. 9). If you’re experiencing anguish and difficulty, know that He can bring comfort and peace.

Reflect & Pray
How have you experienced God’s joy even in times of deep sorrow? How do you explain this? How could you share what you learned with others?

Heavenly Father, fan into flame the gift of faith in me, that I might share with love and power my testimony of how You work in my life.
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Cultivating God’s World
Posted:Jul 27, 2020 4:53 am
Last Updated:Jul 27, 2020 3:35 pm
Bible in a Year:
Psalms 43–45

Acts 27:27–44
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

Genesis 2:

Today's Scripture & Insight:

Genesis 1:26–27; 2:
“Dad, why do you have go work?” The question from my young was motivated by her desire with . I would have preferred skip work and spend time with her, but there was a growing list of things at work that required my attention. The question, nevertheless, is a good one. Why do we work? Is it simply provide for ourselves and for the people we love? What about labor that’s unpaid—why do we do that?

Genesis 2 tells us that God placed the first human in the garden “work it and take care of it” (v. ). My father-in-law is a farmer, and he often tells me he farms for the sheer love of land and livestock. That’s beautiful, but it leaves lingering questions for those who don’t love their work. Why did God put us in a particular place with a particular assignment?

Genesis 1 gives us the answer. We’re made in God’s image to carefully steward the world He made (v. 26). Pagan stories of the way the world began reveal “gods” making humans to be their slaves. Genesis declares that the one true God made humans to be His representatives—to steward what He’d made on His behalf. May we reflect His wise and loving order into the world. Work is a call to cultivate God’s world for His glory.

Reflect & Pray
What’s the work God has given you to do? How could you cultivate this “field” by bringing order into it and bringing good from it, by His grace?

Dear God, thank You for the honor of joining You in Your work in the world. Help me to reflect Your love, wisdom, and order in my life and in the place where I work.
1 comment
Posted:Jul 26, 2020 3:54 am
Last Updated:Jul 26, 2020 3:34 pm
Bible in a Year:
Psalms 40–42

Acts 27:1–26
Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me.

Psalm 41:9

Today's Scripture & Insight:

John :18–22; Psalm 41:9–
In 2019, art exhibitions worldwide commemorated the five hundredth anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci. While many of his drawings and scientific discoveries were showcased, there are only five finished paintings universally credited da Vinci, including The Last Supper.

This intricate mural depicts the final meal Jesus ate with His disciples, as described in the gospel of John. The painting captures the disciples’ confusion at Jesus’ statement, “One of you is going betray ” (John :21). Perplexed, the disciples discussed who the betrayer might be—while Judas quietly slipped out into the night to alert the authorities of the whereabouts of his teacher and friend.

Betrayed. The pain of Judas’ treachery is evident in Jesus’ words, “He who shared my bread has turned against ” (v. 1. A friend close enough share a meal used that connection harm Jesus.

Each of us has likely experienced a friend’s betrayal. How can we respond such pain? Psalm 41:9, which Jesus quoted indicate His betrayer was present during the shared meal (John :18, offers hope. After David poured out his anguish at a close friend’s duplicity, he took solace in God’s love and presence that would uphold and set him in God’s presence forever (Psalm 41:11–).

When friends disappoint, we can find comfort knowing God’s sustaining love and His empowering presence will be with us help us endure even the most devastating pain.

Reflect & Pray
How have you experienced the betrayal of a friend? How has the reassurance of God’s love and presence sustained you?

Heavenly Father, I'm thankful that Your love is stronger than any betrayal. When I face rejection, help find strength in the knowledge that You are always with .
Plod On!
Posted:Jul 25, 2020 6:17 am
Last Updated:Jul 26, 2020 3:55 am
Bible in a Year:
Psalms 37–39

Acts 26
“Am I not sending you?”

Judges 6:

Today's Scripture & Insight:

Judges 6.7–16
God loves to use people the world might overloo William Carey was raised in a tiny village in the 1700s and had little formal education. He had limited success in his chosen trade and lived in poverty. But God gave him a passion for sharing the good news and called him be a missionary. Carey learned Greek, Hebrew, and Latin and eventually translated the first New Testament into the Bengali language. Today he is regarded as a “father of modern missions,” but in a letter to his nephew he offered this humble assessment of his abilities: “I can plod. I can persevere.”

When God calls us to a task, He also gives us strength to accomplish it regardless of our limitations. In Judges 6: the angel of the Lord appeared Gideon and said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” The angel then told him to rescue Israel from the Midianites who were raiding their towns and crops. But Gideon, who hadn’t earned the title of “mighty warrior,” humbly responded, “How can I save Israel? . . . I am the least in my family” (v. 15). Still, God used Gideon to set His people free.

The key to Gideon’s success was in the words, “the Lord is with you” (v. ). As we humbly walk with our Savior and rely on His strength, He will empower us accomplish what’s only possible through Him.

Reflect & Pray
What’s God calling you do that you can’t do in your own strength? How can you rely on His power today?

Thank You for empowering , my Savior and my strength! Please help follow You closely.
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