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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.

Dad, Where Are You?
Posted:Nov 16, 2019 5:09 am
Last Updated:Nov 16, 2019 2:38 pm
18 Views
Bible in a Year:

Ezekiel 3–4
Hebrews :20–40
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Deuteronomy 31:8

Deuteronomy 31:1–8
“Dad! Where are you?”

I was pulling into our driveway when my , panicking, called me on my cell . I’d needed to be home by 6:00 to get her to practice; I was on time. My ’s voice, however, betrayed her lack of trust. Reflexively, I responded: “I’m here. Why don’t you trust me?”

But as I spoke those words, I wondered, How often could my heavenly Father ask that of me? In stressful moments, I too am impatient. I too struggle to trust, to believe God will keep His promises. So I cry : “Father, where are you?”

Amid stress and uncertainty, I sometimes doubt God’s presence, or even His goodness and purposes for me. The Israelites did too. In Deuteronomy 31, they were preparing to enter the Promised Land, knowing their leader, Moses, would stay behind. Moses sought to reassure God’s people by reminding them, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (v. 8

That promise—that God is always with us—remains a cornerstone of our faith today (see Matthew 1:23; Hebrews :5). Indeed, Revelation 21:3 culminates with these words: “God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them.”

Where is God? He’s right here, right now, right with us—always ready to hear our prayers.

Reflect & Pray
What Scripture brings to mind the truth of God’s presence? Place it somewhere easily visible to remind you.

Father, help us to see how much You love us!
1 comment
Aiming for the Prize
Posted:Nov 15, 2019 12:35 am
Last Updated:Nov 15, 2019 12:35 am
30 Views
Bible in a Year:

Ezekiel 1–2
Hebrews 11:1–19
Run in such a way as to get the prize.

1 Corinthians 9:24

1 Corinthians 9:19–27
In the 1994 fictional movie Forrest Gump, Forrest becomes famous for running. What began as a jog “to the end of the road” continued for three years, two months, fourteen days, and sixteen hours. Each time he arrived at his destination, he set another one and continued to run, zig-zagging across the United States, until one day when he no longer felt like it. “Feeling like it” was the way his running began. Forrest says, “That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run.”

In contrast to Forrest’s seemingly whimsical running, the apostle Paul asks his readers to follow his example and “run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24). Like disciplined athletes, our running—the way we live our lives—might mean saying no to some of our pleasures. Being willing to forgo our rights might help us reach others with the good news of our rescue from sin and death.

With our hearts and minds trained on the goal of inviting others to run the race alongside us, we are also assured of the ultimate prize—eternal fellowship with God. The victor’s crown God bestows will last forever; we win it by running our lives with the aim of making Him known while relying on His strength to do so. What a reason to run!

Reflect & Pray
What is your “aim” in life? How is it similar to or different than Paul’s?

Jesus, help me stay focused on the reason I run: to share about You with those around me.
1 comment
Alert Circles
Posted:Nov 14, 2019 3:58 am
Last Updated:Nov 14, 2019 1:00 pm
39 Views
Bible in a Year:

Lamentations 3–5
Hebrews :19–39
Encourage one another and build each other up.

1 Thessalonians 5:

Hebrews :19–25
African gazelles instinctively form “alert circles” while resting on the savannah. They gather in groups with each animal facing outward in a slightly different direction. This enables them to scan the horizon a full 360 degrees and to communicate about approaching dangers or opportunities.

Instead of looking out only for themselves, the members of the group take care of one another. This is also God’s wisdom for followers of Jesus. The Bible encourages us, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together” (Hebrews :24–25).

Christians were never intended to go it alone, explains the writer of Hebrews. Together we are stronger. We’re able to “[encourage] one another” (v. 25), to “comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:4), and to help each other stay alert to the efforts of our enemy the devil, “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8.

The goal of our care for each other is so much more than survival. It’s to make us like Jesus: loving and effective servants of God in this world—people together look forward confidently to the hope of His coming kingdom. All of us need encouragement, and God will help us help each other as together we draw near to Him in love.

Reflect & Pray
How do you receive strength and help from other believers? can you encourage with God’s love?

Thank You for Your faithfulness, loving God. Please help me to encourage others to look forward to You today!
2 Comments
True Friends
Posted:Nov 13, 2019 2:28 am
Last Updated:Nov 16, 2019 9:43 pm
45 Views
Bible in a Year:

Lamentations 1–2
Hebrews 10:1–18
A friend loves at all times.

Proverbs 17:17

1 Samuel 18:1–4; 19:1–6
In high school, I had a “sometimes friend.” We were “buddies” at our church, and we occasionally hung out together outside of school. But at school, it was a different story. If she met me by herself, she might say hello; but only if no one else was around. Realizing this, I rarely tried to gain her attention within school walls. I knew the limits of our friendship.

We’ve probably all experienced the pain of disappointingly one-sided or narrow friendships. But there’s another kind of friendship—one that extends beyond all boundaries. It’s the kind of friendship we have with kindred spirits who are committed to sharing life’s journey with us.

David and Jonathan were such friends. Jonathan was “one in spirit” with David and loved him “as himself” (1 Samuel 18:1–3). Although Jonathan would have been next in line to rule after his father Saul’s death, he was loyal to David, God’s chosen replacement. Jonathan even helped David to evade two of Saul’s plots to kill him (19:1–6; 20:1–42).

Despite all odds, Jonathan and David remained friends—pointing to the truth of Proverbs 17:17: “A friend loves at all times.” Their faithful friendship also gives us a glimpse of the loving relationship God has with us (John 3:16; 15:15). Through friendships like theirs, our understanding of God’s love is deepened.

Reflect & Pray
Who do you consider a true friend? Why? How is it comforting to know that God is our truest friend?

Heavenly Father, we long for friends. Please open up doors to true, lasting, and God-centered friendships.
1 comment
Our Blessings, His Love
Posted:Nov 12, 2019 4:05 am
Last Updated:Nov 13, 2019 1:29 pm
55 Views
Bible in a Year:

Jeremiah 51–52
Hebrews 9
To him who led his people through the wilderness; His love endures forever.

Psalm 136:16

Psalm 136:1–3, 10–26
In 2015, a woman discarded her deceased husband’s computer at a recycling center—a computer that had been made in 1976. But more important than when it had been made was who made it. It was one of 200 computers hand built by Apple founder Steve Jobs, and was worth an estimated quarter of a million dollars! Sometimes knowing the true worth of something means knowing who made it.

Knowing that it’s God who made us shows us how valuable we are to Him (Genesis 1:27). Psalm 136 catalogs key moments of His people—ancient Israel: how they had been freed from captivity in Egypt (vv. 11–12), journeyed through the wilderness (v. 16), and were given a new home in Canaan (vv. 21–22). But each time a moment of Israel’s history is mentioned, it’s paired with this repeated refrain: “His love endures forever.” This refrain reminded the people of Israel that their experiences weren’t random historical events. Each moment had been orchestrated by God and was a reflection of His enduring love for those He’d made.

Far too often, I allow moments that show God at work and His kind ways to simply pass by, failing to recognize that every perfect gift comes from my heavenly Father (James 1:17) who made me and loves me. May you and I learn to connect every blessing in our lives to God’s enduring love for us.

Reflect & Pray
How can we better remember the Source of life’s blessings? What hinders you from doing so?

Heavenly Father, please don’t allow even one blessing that You’ve given pass by without me recognizing that it came from You, and You alone!
1 comment
It’s Up to God
Posted:Nov 11, 2019 4:51 am
Last Updated:Nov 11, 2019 6:17 am
68 Views
Bible in a Year:

Jeremiah 50
Hebrews 8
Your will be done.

Matthew 6:10

Matthew 6:5–15
Nate and Sherilyn enjoyed their stop at an omakase restaurant while visiting New York City. Omakase is a Japanese word that translates, “I will leave it up to you,” which means customers at such restaurants let the chef choose their meal. Even though it was their first time to try this type of cuisine and it sounded risky, they loved the food the chef chose and prepared for them.

That idea could carry over to our attitude toward God with our prayer requests: “I will leave it up to You.” The disciples saw that Jesus “often withdrew to lonely places” to pray (Luke 5:16), so they asked Him one day to teach them how to pray. He told them to ask for their daily needs, forgiveness, and the way out of temptation. Part of His response also suggested an attitude of surrender: “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

We can pour out our needs to God because He wants to hear what’s on our hearts—and He delights to give. But being human and finite, we don’t always know what’s best, so it only makes sense to ask with a humble spirit, in submission to Him. We can leave the answer to Him, confident that He’s trustworthy and will choose to prepare what’s good for us.

Reflect & Pray
What do you want to share with God right now? What would it look like if you totally surrendered it to Him?

Thank You, God, for carrying me and my needs close to Your heart. I surrender my life and those I love to Your care.
1 comment
Lava in Paradise
Posted:Nov 10, 2019 3:19 am
Last Updated:Nov 10, 2019 10:25 am
70 Views
Bible in a Year:

Jeremiah 48–49
Hebrews 7
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 4:

2 Samuel 6:1–9
All is quiet, save for slowly stretching tentacles of hissing lava nipping at the edges of the tropical foliage. Residents stand grim-faced yet amazed. Most days they this “paradise.” On this day, however, the fiery fissures in Hawaii’s Puna district reminded everyone that God forged these islands via untamable volcanic power.

The ancient Israelites encountered an untamable power too. When King David recaptured the ark of the covenant (2 Samuel 6:1–4), a celebration broke (v. 5)—until a man died suddenly when he grabbed hold of the ark to steady it (vv. 6–7).

This may tempt us to think of God as being as unpredictable as a volcano, just as likely to create as He is to destroy. However, it helps to remember that God had given Israel specific instructions for how to handle the things set apart for worshiping Him (see Numbers 4). Israel had the privilege of drawing near to God, but His presence was too overwhelming for them to approach Him carelessly.

Hebrews recalls a mountain “burning with fire,” where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. That mountain terrified everyone (vv. 18–21). But the writer contrasts that scene with this: “You have come to . . . Jesus the mediator of a new covenant” (vv. 22–24). Jesus—God’s very —made the way for us to draw near to His untamable yet loving Father.

Reflect & Pray
How often am I tempted to think of God’s love without considering His power? Why is His power a crucial aspect of His character?

How great to know that our all-powerful God also loves us with infinite love!
1 comment
Enduring Prayers
Posted:Nov 9, 2019 4:49 am
Last Updated:Nov 9, 2019 5:46 pm
89 Views
Bible in a Year:

Jeremiah 46–47
Hebrews 6
May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.

Psalm 1:2

Revelation 8:1–5
“Prayers are deathless.” These are the attention-grabbing words of E. M. Bounds (1835–19), whose classic writings on prayer have inspired people for generations. His comments about the power and enduring nature of our prayers continue with these words: “The lips that uttered them may be closed to death, the heart that felt them may have ceased to beat, but the prayers live before God, and God’s heart is set on them and prayers outlive the lives of those who uttered them; they outlive a generation, outlive an age, outlive a world.”

Have you ever wondered if your prayers—particularly those birthed out of difficulty, pain, and suffering—ever make it to God? The insightful words from Bounds remind us of the significance of our prayers and so does Revelation 8:1–5. The setting is heaven (v. 1), the throne room of God and the control center of the universe. Angelic attendants stand in God’s presence (v. 2) and one angel, like the priests of old, offers Him incense along with the prayers of “all God’s people” (v. 3). How eye-opening and encouraging to have this picture of the prayers offered on earth rising to God in heaven (v. 4). When we think that our prayers may have been lost in transit or forgotten, what we see here comforts us and compels us to persist in our praying, for our prayers are precious to God!

Reflect & Pray
When have you questioned whether God really listens to Your prayers? How can passages like Revelation 8:1–5 breathe new life into them?

Father, I thank You that You care more than we sometimes know. Help me to rest in knowing Your eyes are upon the righteous and Your ears are open to our prayers.
2 Comments
That Was Awesome!
Posted:Nov 8, 2019 2:08 am
Last Updated:Nov 8, 2019 8:37 am
95 Views
Bible in a Year:

Jeremiah 43–45
Hebrews 5
Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labor.

Proverbs :24

Proverbs :, 24–28
It was the seventh-grader’s first cross-country meet, but she didn’t want to run. Although she’d been preparing for the event, she was afraid of doing poorly. Still, she started the race with everyone else. Later, one by one the other runners finished the two-mile course and crossed the finish line—everyone except the reluctant runner. Finally, her mom, was watching for her to finish, saw a lone figure in the distance. The mother went to the finish line, preparing to comfort a distraught competitor. Instead, when the young runner saw her mom, she exclaimed, “That was awesome!”

What can be awesome about finishing last? Finishing!

The girl had tried something difficult and had accomplished it! Scripture honors hard work and diligence, a concept often learned through sports or music or other things that require perseverance and effort.

Proverbs :24 says, “Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labor.” And later we read, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (:23). These wise principles—not promises—can help us serve God well.

God’s plan for us always included work. Even before the fall, Adam was to “work [the Garden] and take care of it” (Genesis 2. And any effort we make should be done “with all [our] heart” (Colossians 3:23). Let’s work in the strength He gives us—and leave the results to Him.

Reflect & Pray
What are some areas where I can learn from this to be diligent and persevere? How does doing my best and working hard honor God?

Heavenly Father, whatever it is You have asked me to do today—big or small—help me to do it.
1 comment
LOVE YOU--- WHOLE WORLD
Posted:Nov 7, 2019 3:12 am
Last Updated:Nov 7, 2019 8:59 am
106 Views
Bible in a Year:

Jeremiah 40–42
Hebrews 4
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

1 John 4:16

1 John 4.7–19
My three-year old niece, Jenna, has an expression that never fails to melt my heart. When she loves something (really loves it), be it banana cream pie, jumping on the trampoline, or playing Frisbee, she’ll proclaim, “I love it—whole world!” (“whole world” accompanied with a dramatic sweep of her arms).

Sometimes I wonder, When’s the last time I’ve dared to love like that? With nothing held back, completely unafraid?

“God is love,” John wrote repeatedly (1 John 4:8, 16), perhaps because the truth that God’s love—not our anger, fear, or shame—is the deepest foundation of reality, is hard for us grown-ups to “get.” The world divides us into camps based on what we’re most afraid of—and all too often we join in, ignoring or villainizing the voices that challenge our preferred vision of reality.

Yet amid the deception and power struggles (vv. 5–6), the truth of God’s love remains, a light that shines in the darkness, inviting us to learn the path of humility, trust, and love (1.7–9; 3:18. For no matter what painful truths the light uncovers, we can know that we’ll still be loved (4:10, 18; Romans 8.1).

When Jenna leans over and whispers to me, “I love you—whole world!” I whisper back, “I love you whole world!” And I’m grateful for a gentle reminder that every moment I’m held in limitless love and grace.

Reflect & Pray
When do you find yourself feeling pressured to believe fear is greater than love? How might your relationships with others change if you believed you don’t need to be afraid?

Loving God, thank You for Your love. Help us to trust in and follow Your light and love even when the way gets dark.
1 comment

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