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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.

Pierced Love
Posted:Feb 23, 2020 3:40 am
Last Updated:Feb 23, 2020 2:50 pm
8 Views
Numbers 7–8
Mark 4:21–41
But he was pierced our transgressions, he was crushed our iniquities.

Isaiah 53:5

Isaiah 53:1–6
She’d called. She’d texted. Now Carla stood outside her brother’s gated entry, unable to rouse him to answer. Burdened with depression and fighting addiction, her brother had hidden himself away in his home. In a desperate attempt to penetrate his isolation, Carla gathered several of his favorite foods along with encouraging Scriptures and lowered the bundle over the fence.

But as the package left her grip, it snagged on one of the gate spikes, tearing an opening and sending its contents onto the gravel . Her well-intended, love-filled offering spilled in seeming waste. Would her brother even notice her gift? Would it accomplish the mission of hope she’d intended? She can only hope and pray as she waits his healing.

God so loved the world that—in essence—He lowered His one and only over the wall of our sin, bringing of love and healing into our weary and withdrawn world (John 3 The prophet Isaiah predicted the of this act of love in Isaiah 53:5. This very would be “pierced our transgressions, . . . crushed our iniquities.” His wounds would bring the hope of ultimate healing. He took on Himself “the iniquity of us all” (v. 6).

Pierced spikes our sin and need, God’s gift of Jesus enters our days today with fresh power and perspective. What does His gift mean to you?

Reflect & Pray
How have you experienced God’s pierced love? How have you seen Him transform a broken life His amazing grace?

Dear God, thank You Your gift of Jesus, sent over the fences in heart to meet need today.
1 comment
Ancient Promises
Posted:Feb 22, 2020 5:25 am
Last Updated:Feb 22, 2020 4:39 pm
32 Views
Bible in a Year:

Numbers 4–6
Mark 4:1–20
The Lord bless you and keep you.

Numbers 6:24

Numbers 6:22–27
In 1979, Dr. Gabriel Barkay and his team discovered two silver scrolls in a burial ground outside the Old City of Jerusalem. In 2004, after twenty-five years of careful research, scholars confirmed that the scrolls were the oldest biblical in existence, having been buried in 600 bc. What I find particularly moving is what the scrolls contain—the priestly blessing that God wanted spoken over His people: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you” (Numbers 6:24–25).

In giving this benediction, God showed Aaron and his sons (through Moses) how to bless the people on His behalf. The leaders were to memorize the words in the form God gave so they would speak to them just as God desired. Note how these words emphasize that God is the one blesses, for three times they say, “the Lord.” And six times He says, “you,” reflecting just how much God wants His people to receive His love and favor.

Ponder for a moment that the oldest existing fragments of the Bible tell of God’s desire to bless. What a reminder of God’s boundless love and how He wants to be in a relationship with us. If you feel far from God today, hold tightly to the promise in these ancient words. May the Lord bless you; may the Lord keep you.

Reflect & Pray
What does it mean to you that God desires to bless you? How can you share His love with others?

Father God, I give thanks for the many blessings You give to me. Help me to notice the ways You bring me joy and peace, that I might praise You.
1 comment
A Place of Belonging
Posted:Feb 21, 2020 4:43 am
Last Updated:Feb 22, 2020 5:28 am
65 Views
Bible in a Year:

Numbers 1–3
Mark 3
So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

Ephesians 3:

Ephesians 3:–21
Some years after the tragic loss of their first spouses, Robbie and Sabrina fell in love, married, and combined their two families. They built a new home and named it Havilah (a Hebrew word meaning “writhing in pain” and “to bring forth”). It signifies the making of something beautiful through pain. The couple says they didn’t build the home to forget their past but “to bring life from the ashes, to celebrate hope.” For them, “it is a place of belonging, a place to celebrate life and where we all cling to the promise of a future.”

That’s a beautiful picture of our life in Jesus. He pulls our lives from the ashes and becomes for us a place of belonging. When we receive Him, He makes His home in our hearts (Ephesians 3. God adopts us into His family through Jesus so that we belong to Him (1:5–6). Although we’ll go through painful times, He can use even those to bring good purposes in our lives.

Daily we have opportunity to grow in our understanding of God as we enjoy His love and celebrate what He’s given us. In Him, there’s a fullness to life that we couldn’t have without Him (3:19). And we have the promise that this relationship will last forever. Jesus is our place of belonging, our reason to celebrate life, and our hope now and forever.

Reflect & Pray
In what ways has Jesus changed your life? What does it mean for you to belong to Jesus?

I’m grateful that I belong to You, Jesus. Thank You for a life of hope for now and forever.
3 Comments
The Hardest Places
Posted:Feb 20, 2020 3:56 am
Last Updated:Feb 23, 2020 9:53 pm
74 Views
Leviticus 26–27
Mark 2
Joseph stored up huge quantities of grain, like the sand of the sea.

Genesis 41:49

Genesis 41:46–52
Geoff is a youth pastor today in the city where he once abused heroin. God transformed both his heart and his circumstances in a breathtaking way. “I want to keep from making the mistakes and suffering the pain I went through,” Geoff said. “And Jesus will help them.” Over time, God set him free from the slavery of addiction and has given him a vital ministry in spite of his past.

God has ways of bringing unexpected good of situations where hope seems lost. Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt and falsely accused and sent to prison, where he was forgotten for years. But God restored him and placed him in a position of authority directly under Pharaoh, where he was able to save many lives—including the lives of his brothers ’d abandoned him. There in Egypt Joseph married and had . He named the second Ephraim (drawn from the Hebrew term for “twice fruitful”), and gave this reason: “It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering” (Genesis 41:52).

Geoff’s and Joseph’s stories, while separated by three to four thousand years, to the unchanging truth: even the hardest places in our lives can become fertile ground for God to help and bless many. Our Savior’s love and power never change, and He’s always faithful to those trust in Him.

Reflect & Pray
When have you seen God bring something good of difficulty in your life? How can you use your past problems to encourage others today?

All-powerful Father, I praise You that nothing is too hard for You! Thank You for Your perfect faithfulness, today and forever.
2 Comments
The Reality of God
Posted:Feb 19, 2020 2:24 am
Last Updated:Feb 20, 2020 3:57 am
163 Views
Bible in a Year:

Leviticus 25
Mark 1:23–45
The Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he [saw] chariots of fire all around Elisha.

2 Kings 6:17

2 Kings 6:8–17
In C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, all of Narnia is thrilled when the mighty lion Aslan reappears after a long absence. Their joy turns to sorrow, however, when Aslan concedes to a demand made by the evil White Witch. Faced with Aslan’s apparent defeat, the Narnians experience his power when he emits an earsplitting roar that causes the witch to flee in terror. Although all seems to have been lost, Aslan ultimately proves to be greater than the villainous witch.

Like Aslan’s followers in Lewis’ allegory, Elisha’s servant despaired when he got up one morning to see himself and Elisha surrounded by an enemy army. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” he exclaimed (2 Kings 6:15). The prophet’s response was calm: “Don’t be afraid . . . . Those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (v. 16). Elisha then prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see” (v. 17). So, “the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (v. 17). Although things at first seemed bleak to the servant’s eye, God’s power ultimately proved greater than the enemy horde.

Our difficult circumstances may lead us to believe all is lost, but God desires to open our eyes and reveal that He is greater.

Reflect & Pray
What difficult times are you facing? How have you experienced that God is greater than any evil you face?

Thank You, God, for Your faithfulness.
1 comment
Unimaginable
Posted:Feb 18, 2020 5:52 am
Last Updated:Feb 18, 2020 2:52 pm
198 Views
Leviticus 23–24
Mark 1:1–22
Though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.

Psalm 23:4

Psalm 23
Bart Millard penned a megahit in 2001 when he wrote, “I Can Only Imagine.” The song pictures how amazing it will be to be in Christ’s presence. Millard’s lyrics offered comfort to our family that next year when our seventeen-year-old , Melissa, died in a car accident and we imagined what it was like for her to be in God’s presence.

But imagine spoke to me in a different way in the days following Mell’s death. As fathers of Melissa’s friends approached me, full of concern and pain, they said, “I can’t imagine what you’re going through.”

Their expressions were helpful, showing that they were grappling with our loss in an empathetic way—finding it unimaginable.

David pinpointed the depth of great loss when he described walking through “the darkest valley” (Psalm 23:4). The death of a loved one certainly is that, and we sometimes have no idea how we’re going to navigate the darkness. We can’t imagine ever being able to come out on the other side.

But as God promised to be with us in our darkest valley now, He also provides great hope for the future by assuring us that beyond the valley we’ll be in His presence. For the believer, to be “away from the body” means being present with Him (2 Corinthians 5:8. That can help us navigate the unimaginable as we imagine our future reunion with Him and others.

Reflect & Pray
What’s the best thing you can say to friends who’ve suffered the loss of someone they loved? How can you prepare for those times?

Thank You, God, for being with us even in the darkest valley as we imagine the glories of heaven.
1 comment
Ever-Present Presence
Posted:Feb 17, 2020 5:12 am
Last Updated:Feb 17, 2020 5:53 pm
238 Views
Leviticus 21–22
Matthew 28
Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

Matthew 28:20

Matthew 28:–20
During the 2018 World Cup, Colombian forward Radamel Falcao scored in the seventieth minute against Poland, securing a victory. The dramatic goal was Falcao’s thirtieth in international , earning him the distinction of scoring the most goals by a Colombian player in international competition.

Falcao has often used his success on the soccer pitch to share his faith, frequently lifting his jersey after a score to reveal a shirt with the words, Con Jesus nunca estara solo: “With Jesus you’ll never be alone.”

Falcao’s statement us to the reassuring promise from Jesus, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Knowing He was about to return to heaven, Jesus comforted His disciples by assuring them He’d always be with them, through the presence of His Spirit (v. 20; John :–18. Christ’s Spirit would comfort, guide, protect, and empower them as they took the of Jesus to cities both near and far. And when they experienced periods of intense loneliness in unfamiliar places, Christ’s words would likely echo in their ears, a reminder of His presence with them.

No matter where we go, whether close to home or faraway, as we follow Jesus into the unknown we too can cling to this promise. Even when we experience feelings of loneliness, as we in prayer to Jesus, we can receive comfort knowing He’s with us.

Reflect & Pray
How does the assurance that Jesus is always with you provide comfort? How has He comforted you when you felt alone?

Jesus, thank You that I’m never alone because You’re with me.
2 Comments
Divided in Love
Posted:Feb 16, 2020 3:10 am
Last Updated:Feb 17, 2020 5:12 am
297 Views
Bible in a Year:

Leviticus 19–20
Matthew 27:51–66
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

Ephesians 4:2

Ephesians 4:2–6
When public debate erupted over a controversial Singapore law, it divided believers with differing views. Some called others “narrow-minded” or accused them of compromising their faith.

Controversies can cause sharp divisions among God’s family, bringing much hurt and discouraging people. I’ve been made to feel small over personal convictions on how I apply the Bible’s teachings to my life. And I’m sure I’ve been equally guilty of criticizing others I disagree with.

I wonder if the problem lies not in what or even in how we express our views, but in the attitudes of our hearts when we do so. Are we just disagreeing with views or seeking to tear down the people behind them?

Yet there are times when we need to false teaching or explain our stand. Ephesians 4:2–6 reminds us to do so with humility, gentleness, patience, and love. And, above all else, to make every effort “to keep the unity of the Spirit” (v. 3).

Some controversies will remain unresolved. God’s Word, however, reminds us that our goal should always be to build up people’s faith, not tear them down (v. 29). Are we putting others down to win an argument? Or are we allowing God to help us understand His truths in His time and His way, remembering that we share one faith in one Lord? (vv. 4–6).

Reflect & Pray
How can you explain your stand on sensitive issues humbly, gently, and lovingly? What will you pray for those seem to disagree?

God, guide me as I speak the truth so that I do so of love and seek only to build up, not to tear down.
3 Comments
The Mouse That Roared
Posted:Feb 15, 2020 4:47 am
Last Updated:Feb 15, 2020 7:18 pm
332 Views
Leviticus –18
Matthew 27:27–50
The one is in [us] is greater than the one is in the world.

1 John 4:4

Matthew 4:1–
Several years ago my sons and I spent a few days camping in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness in Northern Idaho. It’s grizzly bear habitat, but we carried bear spray, kept our campsites clean, and anticipated no major grizzly encounters.

One evening, in the middle of the night, I heard Randy scramble around trying to get of his sleeping bag. I grabbed my flashlight and turned it on, expecting to see him in the clutches of an enraged grizzly.

There, sitting upright on its haunches and waving its paws in the air was a field mouse about 4 inches tall. It had Randy’s cap firmly clenched in its teeth. The little creature had tugged and tugged until he pulled Randy’s cap from his head. As I laughed, the mouse dropped the cap and scampered away. We crawled back into our sleeping bags. I, however, fully adrenalized, couldn’t get back to sleep and thought about another predator—the devil.

Consider Satan’s temptation of Jesus (Matthew 4:1–). He countered his enticements with the Scriptures. With each answer, Jesus reminded Himself that God had spoken on this issue and therefore He wouldn’t disobey. This caused the devil to flee.

Although Satan wants to devour us, it’s good to remember that he’s a created being like the little rodent. John said, “the one is in [us] is greater than the one is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

Reflect & Pray
What are your greatest temptations? What does God say about these issues and how might you use that when you’re tempted?

Dear God, I’m grateful that You’re greater than any temptation that comes at me. Please provide the way out.
1 comment
When Life Is Hard
Posted:Feb 14, 2020 5:32 am
Last Updated:Feb 15, 2020 4:47 am
369 Views
Leviticus 15–16
Matthew 27:1–26
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”

Psalm 16:2

Psalm 16
Physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted, I curled up in my recliner. Our family had followed God’s leading and had moved from California to Wisconsin. After we arrived, our car broke down and left us without a vehicle for two months. Meanwhile, my husband’s limited mobility after an unexpected back surgery and my chronic pain complicated our unpacking. We uncovered costly problems with our new-to-us, old home. Our senior suffered with health issues. And though our new pup brought great joy, raising a furry ball of energy was far more work than anticipated. My attitude soured. How was I supposed to have unshakable faith while traveling on a bumpy road of hardships?

As I prayed, God reminded me of the psalmist whose praise didn’t depend on circumstances. David poured out his emotions, often with great vulnerability, and sought refuge in the presence of God (Psalm 16:1). Acknowledging God as provider and protector (vv. 5–6), he praised Him and followed His counsel (v. 7). David affirmed that he would “not be shaken” because he kept his eyes “always on the Lord” (v. 8. So, he rejoiced and rested secure in the joy of God’s presence (vv. 9–11).

We too can delight in knowing our peace doesn’t depend on our present situation. As we thank our unchanging God for who He is and always will be, His presence will fuel our steadfast faith.

Reflect & Pray
How can offering God praise for His unchanging character and wondrous works increase your faith during challenging circumstances? What situations do you need to place in God’s trustworthy hands?

Thanks for being You, Father!
2 Comments

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