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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.

Not Like Yesterday
Posted:Apr 25, 2019 5:58 am
Last Updated:Apr 25, 2019 7:34 am
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Bible in a Year:

2 Samuel 21–22; Luke 18:24–43
Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 8:3

Matthew 4:1–11
When our grandson Jay was a child his parents gave him a new T-shirt for his birthday. He put it on right away and proudly wore it all day.

When he appeared the next morning in the shirt, his dad asked him, “Jay, does that shirt make you happy?”

“Not as much as yesterday,” Jay replied.

That’s the problem with material acquisition: Even the good things of life can’t give us the deep, lasting happiness we so strongly desire. Though we may have many possessions, we may still be unhappy.

The world offers happiness through material accumulation: new clothes, a new automobile, an update to our phone or watch. But no material acquisition can make us as happy as it did yesterday. That’s because we were made for God and nothing less will do.

One day, when Jesus was fasting and faint with hunger, Satan approached Him and tempted Him to satisfy His hunger by creating bread. Jesus countered by quoting from Deuteronomy 8:3: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

Jesus didn’t mean that we shouldn’t live only on bread. He’s rather stating a fact: We’re spiritual beings and thus we can’t exist on material goods alone.

True satisfaction is found in God and His riches.

Today's Reflection
Why do material acquisitions not provide long-term happiness? What have you learned from past expectations?
0 Comments
Serving the Smallest
Posted:Apr 24, 2019 4:28 am
Last Updated:Apr 25, 2019 7:34 am
17 Views
Bible in a Year:

2 Samuel 19–20; Luke 18:1–23
God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things.

1 Corinthians 1:28

Luke :–23
The video showed a man kneeling beside a busy freeway during an out-of-control brush fire. He was clapping his hands and pleading with something to come. What was it? A dog? Moments later a bunny hopped into the picture. The man scooped up the scared rabbit and sprinted to safety.

How did the rescue of such a small thing make national news? ’s why. There’s something endearing about compassion shown to the least of these. It takes a big heart to make room for the smallest creature.

Jesus said the kingdom of God is like a man who gave a banquet and made room for everyone who was willing to come. Not just the movers and shakers but also “the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame” (Luke :21). I’m thankful God targets the weak and the seemingly insignificant, because otherwise I’d have no shot. Paul said, “God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things . . . so no one may boast before him” (1 Corinthians 1:27–29).

How big must God’s heart be to save a small person like me! In response, how large has my heart grown to be? I can easily tell, not by how I please the “important people,” but by how I serve the ones society might deem the least important.

Today's Reflection
What types of people do you have a hard time valuing? In what ways might God want you to change ?
1 comment
Seeing the Light
Posted:Apr 23, 2019 3:59 am
Last Updated:Apr 23, 2019 6:53 am
19 Views
Bible in a Year:

2 Samuel 16–18; Luke 17:20–37
On those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.

Isaiah 9:2

Matthew 4:12–25
On the streets of Los Angeles, a homeless man struggling with addictions stepped into The Midnight Mission and asked for help. Thus began Brian’s long road to recovery.

In the process Brian rediscovered his love for music. Eventually he joined Street Symphony—a group of music professionals with a heart for the homeless. They asked Brian to perform a solo from Handel’s Messiah known as “The People That Walked in Darkness.” In words written by the prophet Isaiah during a dark period of Israel’s history, he sang, “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined” (Isaiah 9:2 kjv). A music critic for The New Yorker magazine wrote that Brian “made the text sound as though it had been taken from his own life.”

The gospel writer Matthew quoted that same passage. Called by Jesus from a life of cheating his fellow Israelites, Matthew describes how Jesus fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy by taking His salvation “beyond the Jordan” to “Galilee of the Gentiles” (Matthew 4:13–15).

Who would have believed one of Caesar’s tax collector thugs (see Matthew 9:9), a street addict like Brian, or people like us would get a chance to show the difference between light and darkness in our own lives?

Today's Reflection
How has the light of Christ affected you? In what ways are you reflecting it to others?
1 comment
Second-Wind Strength
Posted:Apr 22, 2019 5:58 am
Last Updated:Apr 25, 2019 7:34 am
16 Views
Bible in a Year:

2 Samuel –; Luke :1–19
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Matthew :28

Isaiah 40:27–31
At the age of fifty-four I entered the Milwaukee marathon with two goals—to finish the race and to do it under five hours. My time would have been amazing if the second .1 miles went as well as the first. But the race was grueling, and the second-wind strength I’d hoped for never came. By the time I made it to the finish line, my steady stride had morphed into a painful walk.

Footraces aren’t the only things require second-wind strength—life’s race does too. To endure, tired, weary people need God’s help. Isaiah 40:27–31 beautifully weds poetry and prophecy to comfort and motivate people who need strength to keep going. Timeless words remind fatigued and discouraged people the Lord isn’t detached or uncaring (v. 27), our plight doesn’t escape His notice. These words breathe comfort and assurance, and remind us of God’s limitless power and bottomless knowledge (v. 28.

The second-wind strength described in verses 29–31 is just right for us—whether we’re in the throes of raising and providing for our families, struggling through life under the weight of physical or financial burdens, or discouraged by relational tensions or spiritual challenges. Such is the strength awaits those who—through meditating on the Scriptures and prayer—wait upon the Lord.

Today's Reflection
When have life circumstances taken the wind out of you? In what particular area do you need God’s strength today?
1 comment
Washed Clean
Posted:Apr 21, 2019 4:11 am
Last Updated:Apr 22, 2019 5:58 am
97 Views
Bible in a Year:

2 Samuel 12–13; Luke 16
The blood of Jesus, [God’s] Son, purifies us from all sin.

1 John 1.7

Jeremiah 2:13, 20–22
I couldn’t believe it. A blue gel pen had hidden itself in the folds of my white towels and survived the washing machine, only to explode in the dryer. Ugly blue stains were everywhere. My white towels were ruined. No amount of bleach would be able to remove the dark stains.

As I reluctantly consigned the towels to the rag pile, I was reminded of the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah’s lament describing the damaging effects of sin. By rejecting God and turning to idols (Jeremiah 2:13), Jeremiah declared that the people of Israel had caused a permanent stain in their relationship with God: “‘Although you wash yourself with soap and use an abundance of cleansing powder, the stain of your guilt is still before me,’ declares the Sovereign Lord” (v. 22). They were powerless to undo the damage they’d done.

On our own, it is impossible to remove the stain of our sin. But Jesus has done what we could not. Through the power of His death and resurrection, He “purifies [believers] from all sin” (1 John 1.7

Even when it’s hard to believe, cling to this beautiful truth: there’s no damage from sin that Jesus can’t totally remove. God is willing and ready to wash away the effects of sin for anyone willing to return to Him (v. 9). Through Christ, we can live each day in freedom and hope.

Today's Reflection
Where do you go with your guilt? How might you live differently today knowing that Jesus’s death has the power to completely remove the guilt and “stain” of your sin?
2 Comments
Who Is That?
Posted:Apr 20, 2019 2:57 am
Last Updated:Apr 20, 2019 6:35 am
38 Views
Bible in a Year:

2 Samuel 9–11; Luke 15:11–32
David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan replied, “The Lord has taken away your sin.”

2 Samuel 12:13

2 Samuel 12:1–14
When a man installed a security camera outside his house, he checked the video feature to ensure that the system was working. He was alarmed to see a broad-shouldered figure in dark clothing wandering around his yard. He watched intently to see what the man would do. The interloper seemed familiar, however. Finally he realized he wasn’t watching a stranger roam his property, but a recording of himself in his own backyard!

What might we see if we could step out of our skin and observe ourselves in certain situations? When David’s heart was hardened and he needed an outside perspective—a godly perspective—on his involvement with Bathsheba, God sent Nathan to the rescue (2 Samuel 12).

Nathan told David a story about a rich man who robbed a poor man of his only lamb. Though the rich man owned herds of animals, he slaughtered the poor man’s lone sheep and made it into a meal. When Nathan revealed that the story illustrated David’s actions, David saw how he had harmed Uriah. Nathan explained the consequences, but more important he assured David, “The Lord has taken away your sin” (v. 13).

If God reveals sin in our lives, His ultimate purpose isn’t to condemn us, but to restore us and to help us reconcile with those we’ve hurt. Repentance clears the way for renewed closeness with God through the power of His forgiveness and grace.

Today's Reflection
What sin(s) do you need to bring to God today in repentance? How does His grace encourage you to come before Him in honesty?
1 comment
The Torn Veil
Posted:Apr 19, 2019 8:53 am
Last Updated:Apr 19, 2019 1:56 pm
37 Views
Bible in a Year:

2 Samuel 6–8; Luke 15:1–10
We have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body.

Hebrews 10:19–20

Hebrews 10:10–23
It was a dark and somber day in the outskirts of Jerusalem. On a hill just outside the city walls, a Man who’d been attracting crowds of eager followers for the past three years hung in disgrace and pain on a rough wooden cross. Mourners wept and wailed in sorrow. The light of the sun no longer brightened the afternoon sky. And the intense suffering of the Man on the cross ended when He cried out in a loud voice, “It is finished” (Matthew 27:50; John 19:30).

At that very moment, another sound came from the great temple across town—the sound of ripping fabric. Miraculously, without human intervention, the huge, thick veil that separated the outer temple from the holy of holies tore in two from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51).

That torn curtain symbolized the reality of the cross: a new way was now open to God! Jesus, the Man on the cross, had shed His blood as the last sacrifice—the one true and sufficient sacrifice (Hebrews 10:10)—which allows all who believe in Him to enjoy forgiveness and enter into a relationship with God (Romans 5:6–11).

Amidst the darkness of that original Good Friday, we received the best news ever—Jesus opened a way for us to be saved from our sins and to experience fellowship with God forever (Hebrews 10:19–22). Thank God for the message of the torn veil!

Today's Reflection
How has the reality of what happened on Good Friday brought you from darkness to light? What does it mean for you to experience a relationship with God?
1 comment
In the Moment
Posted:Apr 18, 2019 5:58 am
Last Updated:Apr 18, 2019 9:01 am
41 Views
Bible in a Year:

2 Samuel 3–5; Luke :25–35
The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life . . . . No takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.

John :–18

Luke 23:32–46
The ambulance door was about to close—with me on the inside. Outside, my was on the phone to my wife. From my concussed fog, I called his name. As he recalls the moment, I slowly said, “Tell your mom I love her very much.”

Apparently I thought this might be goodbye, and I wanted those to be my parting words. In the moment, that’s what mattered most to me.

As Jesus endured His darkest moment, He didn’t merely tell us He loved us; He showed it in specific ways. He showed it to the mocking soldiers who had just nailed Him to a cross: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). He gave hope to a criminal crucified with Him: “Today you will be with me in paradise” (v. 43). Nearing the end, He looked at His . “Here is your ,” He said to her, and to His close friend John He said, “Here is your ” (John 19:26–27). Then, as His life slipped from Him, Jesus’s last act of love was to trust His Father: “Into your hands I commit my spirit”
(Luke 23:46).

Jesus purposefully chose the cross in order to show His obedience to His Father—and the depth of His love for us. To the very end, He showed us His relentless love.

Today's Reflection
What matters most to you? How do love and obedience fit together?
1 comment
Flourishing Like a Flower
Posted:Apr 17, 2019 6:23 am
Last Updated:Apr 17, 2019 3:59 pm
96 Views
Bible in a Year:

2 Samuel 1–2; Luke :1–24
The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field.

Psalm 3:

Psalm 3:–22
My youngest grandson is only two months old, yet every time I see him I notice little changes. Recently, as I cooed to him, he looked up at me and smiled! And suddenly I began crying. Perhaps it was joy mixed with remembering my own children’s first smiles, which I witnessed so long ago, and yet it feels like just yesterday. Some moments are like that—inexplicable.

In Psalm 3, David penned a poetic song that praised God while also reflecting on how quickly the joyful moments of our lives pass by: “The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone” (vv. –).

But despite acknowledging the brevity of life, David describes the flower as flourishing, or thriving. Although each individual flower blossoms and blooms swiftly, its fragrance and color and beauty bring great joy in the moment. And even though an individual flower can be quickly forgotten—“its place remembers it no more” (v. )—by contrast we have the assurance that “from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him” (v. ).

We, like flowers, can rejoice and flourish in the moment; but we can also celebrate the truth that the moments of our lives are never truly forgotten. God holds every detail of our lives, and His everlasting love is with His children forever!

Today's Reflection
In what way can you flourish in this moment? How can you bring joy to another?
1 comment
Celebrating Creativity
Posted:Apr 16, 2019 5:27 am
Last Updated:Apr 19, 2019 6:43 pm
66 Views
Bible in a Year:

1 Samuel 30–31; Luke 13:23–35
God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures.”

Genesis 1:20

Genesis 1:1–21
A rarely seen jellyfish waltzed with the currents, four thousand feet deep in the ocean near Baja, California. Its body shone with fluorescent shades of blue, purple, and pink, bright against the backdrop of black water. Elegant tentacles waved gracefully with each pulsing of its bell-shaped hood. As I watched the amazing footage of the Halitrephes maasi jellyfish on the National Geographic video, I reflected on how God chose the specific design of this beautiful, gelatinous creature. He also fashioned the other 2,000 types of jellyfish that scientists have identified as of October 2017.

Though we acknowledge God as Creator, do we slow down long enough to truly consider the profound truth revealed in the first chapter of the Bible? Our amazing God brought forth light and life into the creatively diverse world He crafted with the power of His word. He designed “the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems” (Genesis 1:21). Scientists have discovered only a fraction of the wondrous creatures the Lord created in the beginning.

God also intentionally sculpted each person in the world, giving purpose to every day of our lives before we drew our first breaths (Psalm 139:13–16). As we celebrate the Lord’s creativity, we can also rejoice over the many ways He helps us imagine and create with Him and for His glory.

Today's Reflection
What creative gifts has God given to you? How might you use them for His glory?
2 Comments

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