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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.

Out of the Trap
Posted:Jul 15, 2019 3:43 am
Last Updated:Jul 16, 2019 1:59 am
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Bible in a Year:

Psalms 13–15; Acts 19:21–41
I have learned the secret of being content.

Philippians 4:12

1 Timothy 6:6-10
The Venus flytrap was first discovered in a small area of sandy wetlands not far from our home in North Carolina. These plants are fascinating to watch because they’re carnivorous.

Venus flytraps release a sweet-smelling nectar into colorful traps that resemble open flowers. When an insect crawls inside, triggering sensors along the outer rim, the trap clamps shut in less than a second—capturing its victim. The trap then closes further and emits enzymes that consume its prey over time, giving the plant nutrients not provided by the sandy soil.

God’s Word tells of another trap that can capture unexpectedly. The apostle Paul warned his protégé Timothy: “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.” And “some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs”
(1 Timothy 6:9–10).

money and material things may promise happiness, but when they take first place in our lives, we walk on dangerous ground. We avoid this trap by living with thankful, humble hearts focused on God’s goodness to us through Jesus: “godliness with contentment is great gain” (v. 6).

The temporary things of this world never satisfy like God can. True, lasting contentment is found only through our relationship with Him.

Reflect & Pray
Which do you think more about—money or your relationship with God? How can you give Him the highest priority today?

Loving Lord, You are the greatest blessing of my life! Help me to live contentedly with all that You are today.
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In Living Color
Posted:Jul 14, 2019 3:26 am
Last Updated:Jul 14, 2019 3:26 am
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Bible in a Year:

Psalms 10–12; Acts 19:1–20
The one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby.

Revelation 4:3

Revelation 4:1-6
When Xavier McCoury put on the glasses Aunt Celena sent for his tenth birthday, he burst into tears. Born colorblind, Xavier had only ever seen the world in shades of gray, white, and black. With his new EnChroma glasses, however, Xavier saw color for the first time. His euphoria at witnessing the beauty around him made his family feel like they’d beheld a miracle.

Witnessing God’s colorfully radiant brilliance also evoked a powerful reaction in the apostle John (Revelation 1:17). After encountering the full glory of the resurrected Christ, John glimpsed “a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne. . . . From the throne came flashes of lightning” (Revelation 4:2–5).

In a different time, Ezekiel had a similar vision, seeing “what looked like a throne of lapis lazuli,” with a figure above the throne who “looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire” (Ezekiel 1:26–27). This magnificent figure was surrounded with rainbow-like radiance (v. 28.

One day we will meet Christ face-to-face. These visions give us just a hint of the magnificence that awaits us. As we celebrate the beauty of God’s creation here and now, may we live in anticipation of the glory yet to be revealed.

Reflect & Pray
What response does the color and beauty of creation evoke in you? How can you express your gratitude to God for His wonderful gift?

Father, words fail us when we try to imagine what we will experience when we meet You face-to-face. Thank You for the small hints of Your beauty You have placed in our world.
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Beautiful to God
Posted:Jul 13, 2019 3:51 am
Last Updated:Jul 16, 2019 1:59 am
19 Views
Bible in a Year:

Psalms 7–9; Acts 18
What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?

Psalm 8:4

Psalm 8:4-9
When Denise began dating her boyfriend, she attempted to maintain a slim figure and dress stylishly, believing she would be more attractive to him in that way. After all, it was what all the women’s magazines advised. It was only much later that she discovered what he really thought: “I liked you just as much when you were heavier and didn’t worry about what you wore.”

Denise realized then how subjective “beauty” was. Our view of beauty is so easily influenced by others. It’s often focused on the external, forgetting the value of inner beauty. But God sees us in only one way—as His beautiful, beloved ren. I’d like to think that when God created the world, He left the best for last—us! Everything He created was good, but we’re extra special because we’re made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).

God considers us beautiful! No wonder the psalmist was filled with awe as he compared the greatness of nature with humans. “What is mankind,” he asked, “that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:4). Yet God chose to give mortals a glory and honor that nothing else had
(v. 5).

This truth gives us an assurance and rea to praise Him (v. 9). No matter what others think of us—or what we think of ourselves—know this: We are beautiful to God.

Reflect & Pray
How do you see yourself? How do you think God sees you?

Father, You know how insecure we can feel about ourselves. Thank You for the assurance that You love us!
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Followers
Posted:Jul 12, 2019 3:31 am
Last Updated:Jul 16, 2019 1:59 am
25 Views
Bible in a Year:

Psalms 4–6; Acts 17:16–34
The seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

Luke 8:15

Luke 8:11-15
Sunflowers sprout in a carefree manner all over the world. Pollinated by bees, the plants spring up on the sides of highways, under bird feeders, and across fields, meadows, and prairies. To produce a harvest, however, sunflowers need good soil. Well-drained, slightly acidic, nutrient-rich soil “with organic matter or composted,” says the Farmer’s Almanac, finally produces tasty sunflower seeds, pure oil, and also a livelihood for hard-working sunflower growers.

We also need “good soil” for spiritual growth (Luke 8:15). As Jesus taught in His parable of the farmer scattering seed, God’s Word can sprout even in rocky or thorny soil (see vv. 6–7). It only thrives, however, in the soil of “honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest” (v. 15 ).

Young sunflowers are just as patient in their growth. Following the sun’s movement throughout the day, they turn sunward daily in a process called heliotropism. Mature sunflowers are just as deliberate. They turn eastward permanently, warming the face of the flower and increasing visits from pollinator bees. This in turn produces a greater harvest.

As with those who care for sunflowers, we can provide a rich medium for God’s Word to grow by clinging to His Word and following after His —developing honesty and a good heart for God’s Word to mature us. It’s a daily process. May we follow the and grow.

Reflect & Pray
What’s the condition of your spiritual soil? Rocky, thorny, or rich in spiritual “nutrients”? Why? When you follow the daily, how does this practice impact your honesty and heart?
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Football and Shepherds
Posted:Jul 11, 2019 3:54 am
Last Updated:Jul 13, 2019 11:16 am
44 Views
Bible in a Year:

Psalms 1–3; Acts 17:1–15
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

John 10:11

John 10:11-15
An intriguing element of English football is the team anthem sung by the fans at the start of each match. These gs range from the fun (“Glad All Over”) to the whimsical (“I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles”) to the surprising. “Psalm 23,” for instance, is the anthem of the club from West Bromwich Albion. The words of that psalm appear on the façade inside the team’s stadium, declaring to everyone who comes to watch the “West Brom Baggies” the care of the good, great, and chief Shepherd.

In Psalm 23, David made his timeless statement, “The Lord is my shepherd” (v. 1). Later, the gospel writer Matthew would tell us, “When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). And in John 10, Jesus declared His love and concern for the human “sheep” of His generation. “I am the good shepherd,” He said. “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (v. 11). Jesus’s compassion drove His interactions with the crowds, His responses to their needs, and, ultimately, His sacrifice on their (and our) behalf.

“The Lord is my shepherd” is far more than an ancient lyric or a clever slogan. It’s the confident statement of what it means to be known and loved by our great God—and what it means to be rescued by His .

Reflect & Pray
In what ways have you seen God’s care for you? Who can you tell about Him today?

What a gift our Shepherd is to us, Father! Help us to respond to His voice—and draw nearer to You.

Read The Lord Is My Shepherd at discoveryseries.org/hp952.
1 comment
Unseen Realities
Posted:Jul 10, 2019 1:50 am
Last Updated:Jul 10, 2019 11:41 am
34 Views
Bible in a Year:

Job 41–42; Acts :22–40
Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.”

2 Kings 6:

2 Kings 6:8-
Stephen Cass, an editor at Discover magazine, was determined to investigate some of the invisible things that are part of his daily life. As he walked toward his office in New York City, he thought: “If I could see radio waves, the top of the Empire State Building [with its host of radio and TV antennas] would be lit like a kaleidoscopic flare, illuminating the entire city.” He realized he was surrounded by an invisible electromagnetic field of radio and TV signals, Wi-Fi, and more.

Elisha’s servant learned about another kind of unseen reality one morning—the invisible spiritual world. He awoke to find himself and his master surrounded by the armies of Aram. As far as his eyes could see, there were soldiers mounted on powerful wars (2 Kings 6! The servant was afraid, but Elisha was confident because he saw the army of angels that surrounded them. He said: “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (v. ). Then he asked the Lord to open his servant’s eyes so he too could see that the Lord had surrounded their enemy and He was in control (v. ).

Do you feel overpowered and helpless? Remember that God is in control and fights for you. He “will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways” (Psalm 91.

Reflect & Pray
How can you learn to trust God’s supernatural help? How would trusting Him more change the way you face difficulties?

Fear not for God is with us and for us.
0 Comments
No More Running
Posted:Jul 9, 2019 3:42 am
Last Updated:Jul 16, 2019 1:59 am
41 Views
Bible in a Year:

Job 38–40; Acts 16:1–21
In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.

Jonah 2:2

Jonah 2:1-10
On July 18, 1983, a US Air Force captain disappeared from Albuquerque, New Mexico, without a trace. Thirty-five years later, authorities found him in California. The New York Times reports that, “depressed about his job,” he’d simply run away.

Thirty-five years on the run! Half a lifetime spent looking over his shoulder! I have to imagine that anxiety and paranoia were this man’s constant companions.

But I have to admit, I also know a bit about being “on the run.” No, I’ve never abruptly fled something in my life . . . physically. But at times I know there’s something God wants me to do, something I need to face or confess. I don’t want to do it. And so, in my own way, I run too.

The prophet Jonah is infamous for literally running from God’s assignment to preach to the city of Nineveh (see Jonah 1:1–3). But, of course, he couldn’t outrun God. You’ve probably heard what happened (vv. 4,17): A storm. A fish. A swallowing. And, in the belly of the beast, a reckoning, in which Jonah faced what he’d done and cried to God for help (2:2).

Jonah wasn’t a perfect prophet. But I take comfort in his remarkable story, because, even despite Jonah’s stubbornness, God never let go of him. The Lord still answered the man’s desperate prayer, graciously restoring His reluctant servant (v. 2)—just as He does with us.

Reflect & Pray
What, if anything, have you tried to run away from in your life? How can you grow in bringing to God the pressures that overwhelm you?
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Sovereign Intervention
Posted:Jul 8, 2019 4:04 am
Last Updated:Jul 16, 2019 1:59 am
51 Views
Bible in a Year:

Job 36–37; Acts 15:22–41
God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them.

Exodus 2:25

Exodus 3:1-9
Barbara grew up under the care of the British government in the 1960s, but when she turned six, she and her newborn , Simon, became homeless. The state was no longer obligated to provide for her at that age. Barbara wrote to the Queen of England for help and received a response! The Queen compassionately arranged for Barbara to be given a house of her own.

The Queen of England had the right resources to help Barbara, and her compassionate assistance can be seen as a small picture of God’s help. The King of heaven knows all of our needs and sovereignly works out His plans in our lives. As He does, however, He longs for us to come to Him—sharing our needs and other concerns—as part of our loving relationship with Him.

The Israelites brought their need for deliverance to God. They were suffering under the burden of Egyptian slavery and cried out for help. He heard them and remembered His promise: “God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them” (Exodus 2:25). He instructed Moses to bring liberty to His people and declared that He would once again release them “into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey” (3:8.

Our King loves it when we come to Him! He wisely provides what we need, not necessarily what we want. Let’s rest in His sovereign, loving provision.

Reflect & Pray
Why is it important for us to bring our needs to God in prayer? How can you learn to rest in God’s provision—whatever that may be?

Loving God, thank You that I can bring my needs to You. Help me to be content in whatever paths and provisions You choose.
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God Looms Larger
Posted:Jul 7, 2019 4:06 am
Last Updated:Jul 16, 2019 1:59 am
56 Views
Bible in a Year:

Job 34–35; Acts 15:1–21
You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty.

1 Samuel 17:45

1 Samuel 17:41-50
Giles Kelman, a South African game ranger, described the incredible scene: two honey badgers battling a pride of six lions. Although outnumbered, the honey badgers refused to back down from ferocious predators ten times their size. The lions thought the kill would be simple, but video footage shows the badgers walking away with something like a swagger.

David and Goliath offer an even more improbable story. Young, inexperienced David confronted the fierce Philistine Goliath. Towering above his young combatant, Goliath possessed brute strength and unrivaled weaponry—bronze armor and a lethal, razor-edged javelin (1 Samuel 17:5–6). David, a fledgling shepherd, carried only a slingshot when he arrived at the battlefield with bread and cheeses for his brothers (vv. 17–18.

Goliath challenged Israel to engage in battle, but no one was willing to fight. King Saul and “all the Israelites were . . . terrified” (v. 11). Imagine the shock when David stepped into the fray. What gave him the courage none of Israel’s hardened warriors possessed? For most, Goliath dominated their vision. David, however, saw God. “The Lord will deliver [Goliath] into my hands,” he insisted (v. 46). While everyone else believed Goliath controlled the story, he believed God loomed larger. And, with a single stone to the giant’s forehead, David’s faith proved true.

We’re tempted to believe that “Goliath” (our troubles) directs the story. God is larger, however. He dominates the story of our lives.

Reflect & Pray
What concerns threaten to overwhelm you these days? How does God’s reality, the fact that He’s larger, transform your perspective?
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Starting Now
Posted:Jul 6, 2019 4:19 am
Last Updated:Jul 16, 2019 1:59 am
59 Views
Bible in a Year:

Job 32–33; Acts 14
Love each other deeply.

1 Peter 4.8

1 Peter 4.7-11
When my oldest sister’s biopsy revealed cancer in late February 2017, I remarked to friends, “I need to spend as much time with Carolyn as possible—starting now.” Some told me my feelings were an overreaction to the news. But she died within ten months. And even though I had spent hours with her, when we love someone there’s never enough time for our hearts to love enough.

The apostle Peter called Jesus’s followers in the early church to “love each other deeply” (1 Peter 4:8. They were suffering under persecution and needed the love of their brothers and sisters in their Christian community more than ever. Because God had poured His own love into their hearts, they would then want to love others in return. Their love would be expressed through praying, offering gracious hospitality, and gentle and truthful conversation—all in the strength God provided (vv. 9–11). Through His grace, God had gifted them to sacrificially serve each other for His good purposes. So that “in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ” (v. 11). This is God’s powerful plan that accomplishes His will through us.

We need others and they need us. Let’s use whatever time or resources we have received from God to love—starting now.

Reflect & Pray
How have others loved you well? What have you received from God that you might use to serve someone today?

There is nothing small in the service of God.
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