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Friday, December 29, 2017

What Remains in the Eye

We have made it to the end of the Week YES! It is FRIDAY! This is the last week of 2017 as we continue to reflect on these last two remaining days before we hit 2018 let's remember ALL that God brought us through in 2017 weather it be good or bad it was help building you for what is ahead in 2018. Take a moment just to reflect on these words of wisdom and let's get ready for an AWESOME 2018! Here's to 2018! with Read: Psalm 104:24–35 Bible in a Year: Zechariah 9–12; Revelation 20 How many are your works, Lord!—Psalm 104:24 The hummingbird gets its English name from the hum made by its rapidly beating wings. In other languages, it is known as the “flower-kisser” (Portuguese) or “flying jewels” (Spanish). One of my favorite names for this bird is biulu, “what remains in the eye” (Mexican Zapotec). In other words, once you see a hummingbird, you’ll never forget it. G. K. Chesterton wrote, “The world will never starve for want of wonders, but only for want of wonder.” The hummingbird is one of those wonders. What is so fascinating about these tiny creatures? Maybe it is their small size (averaging two to three inches) or the speed of their wings that can flap from 50 to 200 times per second. We aren’t sure who wrote Psalm 104, but the psalmist was certainly captivated by nature’s beauty. After describing many of creation’s wonders, like the cedars of Lebanon and the wild donkeys, he sings, “May the Lord rejoice in his works” (v. 31). Then he prays, “May my meditation be pleasing to him” (v. 34). Nature has plenty of things that can remain in the eye because of their beauty and perfection. How can we meditate on them and please God? We can observe, rejoice, and thank God as we contemplate His works and recapture the wonder. —Keila Ochoa Father, help me to reflect on the wonders of nature and meditate on them with thankfulness for all You have done! Wonder leads to gratitude. INSIGHT: Many of the psalms overflow with awe at the magnificence of our God and the world He created. Psalms 8 and 104 are two examples. To realize that we are loved by our Creator God who “wraps himself in light as with a garment” (104:2) and who “set [his] glory in the heavens” (8:1) can cause us, like the psalmist David, to wonder, “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (v. 4). Yet Scripture repeatedly assures us that God does indeed love us! In what ways—large or small—have you felt God’s love for you today? Alyson Kieda

Monday, December 25, 2017

Traditions and Christmas

What a way to jump start the New Week by Celebrating CHRISTMAS! As we take a moment to Celebrate the birth of Jesus with Family and Friends lets take a moment to reflect on this Christmas day ALL that JESUS has done for us Read: Luke 2:1–10 Bible in a Year: Zephaniah 1–3; Revelation 16 I bring you good news that will cause great joy . . . a Savior has been born to you. —Luke 2:10–11 As you savor a candy cane this Christmas, say “danke schön” to the Germans, for that confectionary treat was first created in Cologne. As you admire your poinsettia, say “gracias” to Mexico, where the plant originated. Say “merci beaucoup” to the French for the term noel, and give a “cheers” to the English for your mistletoe. But as we enjoy our traditions and festivities of the Christmas season—customs that have been collected from around the world—let’s save our most sincere and heartfelt “thank you” for our good, merciful, and loving God. From Him came the reason for our Christmas celebration: the baby born in that Judean manger more than 2,000 years ago. An angel announced the arrival of this gift to mankind by saying, “I bring you good news that will cause great joy . . . a Savior has been born to you” (Luke 2:10-11). This Christmas, even in the light of the sparkling Christmas tree and surrounded by newly opened presents, the true excitement comes when we turn our attention to the baby named Jesus, who came to “save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). His birth transcends tradition: It is our central focus as we send praises to God for this indescribable Christmas gift. —Dave Branon Lord, we thank You for coming to join us on that first Christmas. During a time of the year filled with many traditions, help us to keep You first. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him. Romans 15:13 INSIGHT: The angel Gabriel told Mary, “[Jesus] will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David” (Luke 1:32-33). The angel who appeared to Joseph said, “What is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. . . . [Y]ou are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:20-21). Mary and Joseph knew Jesus would be the Messiah, and as faithful Jews they would have known the Messiah was to come from Bethlehem, David’s hometown. Perhaps when Joseph was ordered to Bethlehem for the census he thought, So that’s how God is going to get us to Bethlehem! How does reflecting on the miraculous events that led to the birth of Jesus fill you with renewed awe and wonder? Adapted from Mystery of the Manger by John Greco. Read more at

Friday, December 22, 2017

Silent Night of the Soul

So here we are we have made it to the end of the week YES! It's FRIDAY! with only three more day until Christmas where we will be spending time with family and friends but let's STOP and take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: 2 Corinthians 5:14–21 Bible in a Year: Micah 6–7; Revelation 13 If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone; the new is here!—2 Corinthians 5:17 Long before Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber created the familiar carol “Silent Night,” Angelus Silesius had written: Lo! in the silent night a child to God is born, And all is brought again that ere was lost or lorn. Could but thy soul, O man, become a silent night God would be born in thee and set all things aright. Silesius, a Polish monk, published the poem in 1657 in The Cherubic Pilgrim. During our church’s annual Christmas Eve service, the choir sang a beautiful rendition of the song titled “Could but Thy Soul Become a Silent Night.” The twofold mystery of Christmas is that God became one of us so that we might become one with Him. Jesus suffered everything that was wrong so that we could be made right. That’s why the apostle Paul could write, “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone; the new is here! All this is from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ” (2 Cor. 5:17–18). Whether our Christmas is filled with family and friends or empty of all we long for, we know that Jesus came to be born in us. Ah, would thy heart but be a manger for the birth, God would once more become a child on earth. —David C. McCasland Lord Jesus, thank You for being born into this dark world so that we might be born again into Your life and light. God became one of us so that we might become one with Him. INSIGHT: At the heart of the concept of becoming one with Christ is His work of reconciliation in us. In today’s passage, Paul weaves several themes together—life, love, new creation, and the ministry of reconciliation—all framed by a call to act with urgency. It is because of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection that we can be reconciled to God. Those who accept Christ’s gift of reconciliation must “no longer live for themselves” (2 Cor. 5:15). Instead, we are compelled to view everyone differently (v. 16), as people in dire need of Christ’s reconciliation. And what is this reconciliation? God will no longer “[count] people’s sins against them” (v. 19). With urgency, Paul tells us that we are now Christ’s ambassadors of reconciliation and says, “We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God” (v. 20, emphasis added). With whom can you share this offer of reconciliation today? Tim Gustaftson

Monday, December 18, 2017

Everlasting Hope

So here we are starting the third week of December with Christmas fast approaching has we start this New week lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom to better understand the TRUE meaning of the month of December with Read: Psalm 146 Bible in a Year: Obadiah; Revelation 9 Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God.—Psalm 146:5 The week before Christmas, two months after my mom died, holiday shopping and decorating sat at the bottom of my priority list. I resisted my husband’s attempts to comfort me as I grieved the loss of our family’s faith-filled matriarch. I sulked as our son, Xavier, stretched and stapled strands of Christmas lights onto the inside walls of our home. Without a word, he plugged in the cord before he and his dad left for work. As the colorful bulbs blinked, God gently drew me out of my darkness. No matter how painful the circumstances, my hope remained secure in the light of God’s truth, which always reveals His unchanging character. Psalm 146 affirms what God reminded me on that difficult morning: My endless “hope is in the Lord,” my helper, my mighty and merciful God (v. 5). As Creator of all, He “remains faithful forever” (v. 6). He “upholds the cause of the oppressed,” protecting us and providing for us (v. 7). “The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down” (v. 8). He “watches over” us, “sustains” us, and will always be King (vv. 9-10). Sometimes, when Christmas rolls around, our days will overflow with joyful moments. Sometimes, we’ll face loss, experience hurt, or feel alone. But at all times, God promises to be our light in the darkness, offering us tangible help and everlasting hope. —Xochitl Dixon Father God, thanks for inviting us to know and rely on Your unchanging character as the source of our eternal hope. God secures our hope in His unchanging character. INSIGHT: Psalm 146 is a psalm of contrasts. But the opening and closing phrases of the chapter are identical: “Praise the Lord.” This literary technique is called an inclusio. An inclusio sets the framework for understanding the content in between. In the case of Psalm 146, that framework is praising the Lord. In verses 1-4 the author describes the frailty and ineffectiveness of the strength of humans—they are a breath; they cannot save. Then comes the contrast. In verses 5-9 God is described as the Maker and Ruler of everything. And specifically in verses 7-9 the author says that the Lord watches over and protects those who are in trouble. What greater reason to praise the Lord than that He does for us what we cannot do for ourselves! In the midst of difficult circumstances the Lord is faithful. How can you remind yourself and others of this today? J.R. Hudberg

Friday, December 15, 2017

More Than a Hero

YES! It's the end of the week we have made it to FRIDAY! So has we close out this second week of December let's take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom. Read: John 1:1–5, 9–14 Bible in a Year: Amos 1–3; Revelation 6 We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.—John 1:14 As Star Wars fans around the world eagerly await the release of Episode 8, “The Last Jedi,” people continue to analyze the remarkable success of these films dating back to 1977. Frank Pallotta, media reporter for CNNMoney, said that Star Wars connects with many who long for “a new hope and a force of good at a time when the world needs heroes.” At the time of Jesus’s birth, the people of Israel were oppressed and longing for their long-promised Messiah. Many anticipated a hero to deliver them from Roman tyranny, but Jesus did not come as a political or military hero. Instead, He came as a baby to the town of Bethlehem. As a result, many missed who He was. The apostle John wrote, “He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him” (John 1:11). More than a hero, Jesus came as our Savior. He was born to bring God’s light into the darkness and to give His life so that everyone who receives Him could be forgiven and freed from the power of sin. John called Him “the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (v. 14). “To all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (v. 12). Indeed, Jesus is the one true hope the world needs. —David C. McCasland Lord Jesus, You are our Savior, and we praise You for coming to die that we might live. At Bethlehem, God demonstrated that to love is to give. INSIGHT: Many times when we think of heroes we think of someone who “rescues.” This is especially true of Jesus, who is the greatest hero of all time. Paul wrote in Galatians 1:4 that Jesus is the One “who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.” Second Timothy 4:18 declares, “The Lord will rescue [us] from every evil attack, and will bring [us] safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” The greatest hero of all provides the greatest rescue of all—eternal life. Who might you want to tell about your story of Jesus’s rescue? Bill Crowder

Monday, December 11, 2017

It’s All a Gift!

The weekend has come to an end as we start this 2nd week of the month of December MAN! Christmas is fast approaching but lets NOT get ahead of ourselves let take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom. Read: Ephesians 2:1–9 Bible in a Year: Hosea 5–8; Revelation 2 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.—Ephesians 2:8 London’s Café Rendezvous has nice lighting, comfortable couches, and the smell of coffee in the air. What it doesn’t have are prices. Originally started as a business by a local church, the café was transformed a year after it started. The managers felt that God was calling them to do something radical—make everything on the menu free. Today you can order a coffee, cake, or sandwich without cost. There isn’t even a donation jar. It’s all a gift. I asked the manager why they were so generous. “We’re just trying to treat people the way God treats us,” he said. “God gives to us whether we thank him or not. He’s generous to us beyond our imaginations.” Jesus died to rescue us from our sins and reconcile us with God. He rose from the grave and is alive now. Because of this, every wrong thing we’ve done can be forgiven, and we can have new life today (Eph. 2:1-5). And one of the most amazing things about this is that it is all free. We can’t buy the new life Jesus offers. We can’t even donate toward the cost (vv. 8-9). It’s all a gift. As the folks at Café Rendezvous serve their cakes and coffees, they give people a glimpse of God’s generosity. You and I are offered eternal life for free because Jesus has paid the bill. —Sheridan Voysey Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. Revelation 22:17 Eternal life is a free gift ready to be received. INSIGHT: What does the phrase “dead in your sins” mean? (Eph. 2:1). Dead means lifeless, powerless, inanimate. It means we were incapable of doing anything to change our situation. Sin refers to our rebellion against God. Humanity instinctively rejects God, and this rebellion is expressed through words, deeds, and attitudes. The spiritually dead have no relationship with God. To be spiritually dead means we are completely cut off from Him and unable to reach out to Him. We cannot fix the things we’ve done that offended Him. We can’t apologize to God for rebelling against Him, for pretending He doesn’t exist, and for living as though we are God. Any solution to our deadness must come from somewhere other than us. Through Jesus God took action to bring our spiritually dead hearts to life and restore us to a right relationship with Him. What amazing grace! Adapted from Grace: Accepting God’s Gift to You by Constantine Campbell. Read more at

Friday, December 8, 2017

Unexpected Grace

The week has come to an end YES! It's FRIDAY! Now lets take a moment to reflect on this past week as we take a look at these words of wisdom Read: Acts 9:1–19 Bible in a Year: Daniel 8–10; 3 John In a vision, he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.—Acts 9:12 It was an early Saturday morning in my sophomore year of high school, and I was eager to get to my job at the local bowling lanes. The evening before, I had stayed late to mop the muddy tile floors because the janitor called in sick. I hadn’t bothered to tell the boss about the janitor so I could surprise him. After all, What could go wrong? I thought. Plenty, as it turns out. Stepping in the door, I saw inches of standing water, with bowling pins, rolls of toilet paper, and boxes of paper scoresheets bobbing on top. Then I realized what I had done: While doing the floors, I had left a large faucet running overnight! Incredibly, my boss greeted me with a huge hug and a big smile—“for trying,” he said. Saul was actively punishing and harassing Christians (Acts 9:1–2) when he came face to face with Jesus on the road to Damascus (vv. 3–4). Jesus confronted the soon-to-be-called apostle Paul with his sinful actions. Blinded by the experience, Saul/Paul would need a Christian—Ananias—to restore his sight to him in an act of courage and grace (v. 17). Both Saul and I received unexpected grace. Most people know they’re messed up. Instead of lectures, they need a hope for redemption. Stern faces or sharp words can block their view of that hope. Like Ananias, or even my boss, followers of Jesus must become the face of grace in these life-changing encounters with others. —Randy Kilgore A Christian’s grace-filled actions can smooth someone’s path to the Savior’s presence.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Christmas at MacPherson

The weekend has come to an end and we are jump starting the New week in the 12th month of the New Year Welcome to December lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom to help get through this week with Read: Luke 1:68–75 Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 47–48; 1 John 3 Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.—Luke 1:68 About 230 families and individuals live at MacPherson Gardens, Block 72 in my neighborhood. Each person has his or her own life story. On the tenth floor resides an elderly woman whose children have grown up, gotten married, and moved out. She lives by herself now. Just a few doors away from her is a young couple with two kids—a boy and a girl. And a few floors below lives a young man serving in the army. He has been to church before; maybe he will visit again on Christmas Day. I met these people last Christmas when our church went caroling in the neighborhood to spread Christmas cheer. Every Christmas—as on the first Christmas—there are many people who do not know that God has entered into our world as a baby whose name is Jesus (Luke 1:68; 2:21). Or they do not know the significance of that event—it is “good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (2:10). Yes, all people! Regardless of our nationality, culture, gender, or financial status, Jesus came to die for us and offer us complete forgiveness so that we can be reconciled with Him and enjoy His love, joy, peace, and hope. All people, from the woman next door to the colleagues we have lunch with, need to hear this wonderful news! On the first Christmas, the angels were the bearers of this joyous news. Today, God desires to work through us to take the story to others. —Poh Fang Chia Lord, use me to touch the lives of others with the news of Your coming. The good news of Jesus’s birth is a source of joy for all people. INSIGHT: One of the great themes of Luke’s gospel record is that it continually affirms that the message of Jesus’s death and resurrection is for everyone—not just for Israel. Today’s devotional declares that Christ’s coming would “cause great joy for all the people” (2:10). This important message continues later in this chapter when Simeon says that salvation is prepared in the “sight of all nations” and that Israel’s Messiah is both “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel” (vv. 30-32). At the conclusion of Luke’s account, the risen Christ tells the two disciples on the Emmaus road that “repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (24:47). This message was not intended for Israel alone, nor are we to keep it to ourselves. The entire world is the object of God’s love. For more on sharing your faith, see the Discovery Series booklet Truth with Love: Sharing the Story of Jesus at Bill Crowder

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Last Will Be First

We have made it to the end of the week and have entered into the 12th month of the New Year YES! It's FRIDAY! now lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: Mark 9:33–37 Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 40–41; 2 Peter 3 Those who humble themselves will be exalted.—Matthew 23:12 Recently I was among the last in line to board a large passenger jet with unassigned seating. I located a middle seat beside the wing, but the only spot for my bag was the overhead compartment by the very last row. This meant I had to wait for everyone to leave before I could go back and retrieve it. I laughed as I settled into my seat and a thought occurred to me that seemed to be from the Lord: “It really won’t hurt you to wait. It will actually do you good.” So I resolved to enjoy the extra time, helping other passengers lower their luggage after we landed and assisting a flight attendant with cleaning. By the time I was able to retrieve my bag, I laughed again when someone thought I worked for the airline. That day’s experience made me ponder Jesus’s words to His disciples: “Anyone who wants to be first, must be the very last, and the servant of all” (Mark 9:35). I waited because I had to, but in Jesus’s “upside down” kingdom, there’s a place of honor for those who voluntarily set themselves aside to attend to others’ needs. Jesus came into our hurried, me-first world not “to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). We serve Him best by serving others. The lower we bend, the closer we are to Him. —James Banks Loving Lord, help me to follow You into the needs of others and serve You there. Jesus’s kingdom is upside-down. INSIGHT: Mark 9 is an action-packed chapter in our second gospel account. The chapter opens with the transfiguration of Jesus (vv. 1-13), where Peter, James, and John witness the glory of Christ and the voice of the Father while seeing Moses and Elijah join Jesus on the mountain to discuss His coming death and resurrection. Then, after descending the mountain and entering the valley below, the Lord of light is confronted by the power of darkness—from which He rescues a demon-possessed boy (vv. 14-29). After Jesus reminds the disciples of His coming death and resurrection (vv. 3-32), the disciples argue about which of them will have the highest place in the kingdom. This discussion of greatness initiates Jesus’s call to servanthood. After hearing how their Master would sacrifice Himself for them, they must be reminded that they too were called to lay themselves down for the benefit of others. Our natural inclination is to put self first. How might you intentionally look to serve someone today? Bill Crowder

Monday, November 27, 2017

Knowing Better

Now that we have made it through the long Thanksgiving weekend enjoying Family and Friends we are starting the New Week off in the last week of November before we enter into the 12th month of the New Year which will be December but before we get ahead of ourselves lets truly reflect on these words of wisdom Read: 2 Kings 22:1–4, 8–13 Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 30–32; 1 Peter 4 When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes.—2 Kings 22:11 When we brought our adoptive son home from overseas, I was eager to shower him with love and provide what he had lacked over the preceding months, especially quality food, since he had a nutritional deficit. But despite our best efforts, including consulting specialists, he grew very little. After nearly three years, we learned he had some severe food intolerances. After removing those items from his diet, he grew five inches in just a few months. While I grieved at how long I’d unwittingly fed him foods that impaired his growth, I rejoiced at this surge in his health! I suspect Josiah felt similarly when the Book of the Law was discovered after having been lost in the temple for years. Just as I grieved having unintentionally hindered my son’s growth, Josiah grieved having ignorantly missed God’s fullest and best intentions for His people (2 Kings 22:11). Although he is commended for doing what was right in the eyes of the Lord (v. 2), he learned better how to honor God after finding the Law. With his newfound knowledge, he led the people to worship again as God had instructed them (23:22–23). As we learn through the Bible how to honor Him, we may grieve the ways we’ve fallen short of God’s will for us. Yet we can be comforted that He heals and restores us, and leads us gently into deeper understanding. —Kirsten Holmberg Thank You, God, for showing me how to live in a way that pleases You. I’m sorry for the ways I’ve not done that in the past. Help me to honor and obey You now. God gives us a new start.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Take a Number

The weekend has come to an end with Thanksgiving fast approaching we are starting the New Week Off in this Week of Thanksgiving as we take a moment to reflect on ALL the AWESOMENESS of God during this Thanksgiving week, I going to take these words of wisdom to heart and come this Thursday which is Thanksgiving day we should ALL truly have a better understanding of Gratefulness and Thankfulness with these words of wisdom Read: John 14:15–27 Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 14–15; James 2 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.—John 14:27 We have an ancient cherry tree in our backyard that had seen better days and looked like it was dying, so I called in an arborist. He checked it out and declared that it was “unduly stressed” and needed immediate attention. “Take a number,” my wife, Carolyn, muttered to the tree as she walked away. It had been one of those weeks. Indeed, we all have anxious weeks—filled with worries over the direction our culture is drifting or concerns for our children, our marriages, our businesses, our finances, our personal health and well-being. Nevertheless, Jesus has assured us that despite disturbing circumstances we can be at peace. He said, “My peace I give to you” (John 14:27). Jesus’s days were filled with distress and disorder: He was beleaguered by His enemies and misunderstood by His family and friends. He often had no place to lay His head. Yet there was no trace of anxiety or fretfulness in His manner. He possessed an inner calm, a quiet tranquility. This is the peace He has given us—freedom from anxiety concerning the past, present, and future. The peace He exhibited; His peace. In any circumstances, no matter how dire or trivial, we can turn to Jesus in prayer. There in His presence we can make our worries and fears known to Him. Then, Paul assures us, the peace of God will come to “guard [our] hearts and [our] minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7). Even if we’ve had “one of those weeks,” we can have His peace. —David H. Roper Dear Lord, thank You that I can come to You with every care and Your peace will guard my mind. In the midst of troubles, peace can be found in Jesus. INSIGHT: Are you struggling today? Thank God that you can take your cares to Him in prayer and ask Him to help you commit your situation to His care.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Serve and Be Served

The week has come to an end it's FRIDAY! YES! So Thankful as we are getting closer to the Thanksgiving holiday lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read:Philippians4:10–19 Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 5–7; Hebrews 12 You were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. —Philippians 4:10 Marilyn had been ill for many weeks, and many people had encouraged her through this difficult time. How will I ever repay all their kindnesses? she worried. Then one day she read the words of a written prayer: “Pray that [others] will develop humility, allowing them not only to serve, but also to be served.” Marilyn suddenly realized there was no need to balance any scale, but just to be thankful and allow others to experience the joy of serving. In Philippians 4, the apostle Paul expressed his gratitude for all those who shared “in [his] troubles” (v. 14). He depended on people to support him as he preached and taught the gospel. He understood that the gifts provided for him when he was in need were simply an extension of people’s love for God: “[Your gifts] are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God” (v. 18). It may not be easy to be the one on the receiving end—especially if you’ve usually been the first one to help other people. But with humility, we can allow God to gently care for us by a variety of means when we need help. Paul wrote, “My God will meet all your needs” (v. 19). It was something he had learned during a life of trials. God is faithful and His provision for us has no limits. —Cindy Hess Kasper Dear Lord, thank You for caring for us through Your people. May we graciously give and receive help. Receive love. Give love. Repeat. INSIGHT: Paul was a tentmaker by trade and often worked to support himself while he ministered to people in various cities (see Acts 18:3). However, at times Paul relied on the giving and generosity of others (see Phil 4:14-16). He also encouraged generosity among the churches, calling on members of the global body of Christ to meet each other’s needs (see 1 Cor. 16:1-4). Many times God provides for us through the giving of others. Reflect on how God has provided for you or used you to meet the needs of others. J.R. Hudberg

Monday, November 13, 2017

Multiplied Generosity

So here we are starting a brand New Week as we start this third week of November lets keep in mind what this month is ALL about this is a season of Thanksgiving so lets take these words of wisdom to heart throughout the remainder of this month with these words of wisdom Read: 2 Corinthians 8:1–9 Bible in a Year: Lamentations 1–2; Hebrews 10:1–18 See that you also excel in this grace of giving.—2 Corinthians 8:7 Cheryl was in for a surprise as she pulled up to deliver her next pizza. Expecting to arrive at a home, she instead found herself outside a church. Cheryl confusedly carried the pepperoni pizza inside, where she was met by the pastor. “Is it fair to say life hasn’t been easy for you?” the pastor asked her. Cheryl agreed it hadn’t. With that, he brought out two offering plates that church members had filled with money. The pastor then poured over $750 into Cheryl’s delivery bag as a tip! Unbeknownst to Cheryl, the pastor had asked the pizza shop to send their most financially strapped driver over. Cheryl was stunned. She could now pay some bills. When the first Christians in Jerusalem faced poverty, it was a church that rushed to their aid. Though in need themselves, the Macedonian Christians gave sacrificially, considering it a privilege to do so (2 Cor. 8:1-4). Paul cited their generosity as an example for the Corinthians, and us, to follow. When we use our plenty to supply another’s need, we reflect Jesus, who gave away His riches to meet our own spiritual poverty (v. 9). Cheryl told all her customers about the church’s kindness that day, and, following its example, donated the rest of the day’s tips to others in need. An act of generosity multiplied. And Christ was glorified. —Sheridan Voysey Lord, You meet our needs in surprising ways sometimes. Use us to do that for others as well. Our generosity meets needs and glorifies Jesus. INSIGHT: The believers in Jerusalem were suffering because of a severe famine (see Acts 11:28-29), and the Macedonians—though needy themselves—responded with generous financial aid (2 Cor. 8:1-5). The Corinthians had enthusiastically offered help, but they were slack in carrying it out (8:10-11; 9:1-3). Paul reminded them that God had blessed them abundantly so that they could be generous and share that abundance (8:14-15; 9:8-11). He challenged them to honor their promise completely (8:6-12; 9:5) and quotes Psalm 112:9 to encourage their generous giving (2 Cor. 9:9). How might God be leading you to show generosity today? Sim Kay Tee

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Hand of Comfort

Made it through the first week of November it's FRIDAY! now let us ALL reflect on these words of wisdom Read: 2 Corinthians 1:3–7 Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 48–49; Hebrews 7 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, . . . who comforts us in all our troubles.—2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Patient is combative,” the nurse’s notes read. What she didn’t realize until later was that I was having an allergic reaction as I awakened after a complicated open-heart surgery. I was a mess, with a tube down my throat. My body began shaking violently, straining against the straps on my arms, which were there to keep me from suddenly pulling out my breathing tube. It was a frightening and painful episode. At one point, a nurse’s assistant to the right side of my bed reached down and simply held my hand. It was an unexpected move, and it struck me as especially gentle. I began to relax, which caused my body to stop shaking so badly. Having experienced this with other patients, the nurse’s assistant knew that a hand of comfort could minister to me as well. It was a vivid example of how God uses comfort when His children suffer. Comfort is a powerful and memorable tool for any caregiver, and Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 it’s an important part of God’s toolbox. Not only that, but God also multiplies the impact of His comfort by calling us to use the memory of the comfort He gives us to comfort others in similar situations (vv. 4-7). It is but another sign of His great love; and one we can share with others—sometimes in the simplest of gestures. —Randy Kilgore Thank You, Father, for the comfort You provide to us, either directly or through the acts of Your children. Help us to see where we can apply that same comfort to others in and for Your name. Simple gestures can bring powerful comfort. INSIGHT: This passage demonstrates how our personal pain can help others who suffer. Paul uses the word comfort both vertically and horizontally. God extends comfort to us, then we can offer comfort to others. In this way, our pain can become a conduit of care for those in distress and lead to gratitude in the midst of pain. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort” (2 Cor. 1:3). Can you think of a time when God used others to encourage and comfort you? Dennis Fisher

Monday, November 6, 2017

Our Prayers, God’s Timing

So here we are starting the New Week in the 11th Month of the New Year Welcome to November here are some words of wisdom to help you get through the week with Read: Luke 1:5–17 Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 37–39; Hebrews 3 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.—Ephesians 3:20 Sometimes God takes His time in answering our prayers, and that isn’t always easy for us to understand. That was the situation for Zechariah, a priest whom the angel Gabriel appeared to one day near an altar in the temple in Jerusalem. Gabriel told him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John” (Luke 1:13, italics added). But Zechariah had probably asked God for a child years before, and he struggled with Gabriel’s message because Elizabeth was now well beyond the expected age for childbirth. Still, God answered his prayer. God’s memory is perfect. He is able to remember our prayers not only for years but also for generations beyond our lifetime. He never forgets them and may move in response long after we first brought our requests to Him. Sometimes His answer is “no,” other times it is “wait”—but His response is always measured with love. God’s ways are beyond us, but we can trust that they are good. Zechariah learned this. He asked for a son, but God gave him even more. His son John would grow up to be the very prophet who would announce the arrival of the Messiah. Zechariah’s experience demonstrates a vital truth that should also encourage us as we pray: God’s timing is rarely our own, but it is always worth waiting for. —James Banks What are you praying for today? Tell us at When we cannot see God’s hand at work, we can still trust His heart. INSIGHT: Waiting for God to answer our prayers is hard—especially when we feel the pressures of life. But we have been given the encouragement and promise of the help of the Holy Spirit. How does God’s presence in your prayers strengthen you as you wait? (see Rom. 8). Bill Crowder

Friday, November 3, 2017

Powerful Baby

We have entered into the 11th month of the New Year Welcome to November as we wrap up the end of the week lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: Psalm 13 Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 30–31; Philemon How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? . . . But I trust in your unfailing love.—Psalm 13:1, 5 The first time I saw him, I cried. He looked like a perfect newborn asleep in his crib. But we knew he would never wake up. Not until he was in the arms of Jesus. He clung to life for several months. Then his mother told us of his death in a heart-wrenching email. She wrote of “that deep, deep pain that groans inside you.” Then she said, “How deeply God carved His work of love into our hearts through that little life! What a powerful life it was!” Powerful? How could she say that? This family’s precious little boy showed them—and us—that we must depend on God for everything. Especially when things go horribly wrong! The hard yet comforting truth is that God meets us in our pain. He knows the grief of losing a Son. In our deepest pain, we turn to the songs of David because he writes out of his own grief. “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?” he asked (Ps. 13:2). “Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death” (v. 3). Yet David could give his biggest questions to God. “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation” (v. 5). Only God can bring ultimate significance to our most tragic events. —Tim Gustafson Where do I turn when a crisis hits me? Do I ever get angry with God when facing grief and loss? Am I afraid to share my true emotions with Him? Have I ever asked God for His peace? God can do the most with what we think is least. INSIGHT: We may be surprised to hear a cry of abandonment coming from David, a man who knew God intimately. Psalm 13 describes David’s struggle. He was threatened by powerful enemies and distressed by God’s seeming prolonged apathy and absence, feeling forsaken in the time of his greatest need. “How long, Lord?” he asks. David questioned if God would ever come to his rescue (vv. 1-2). Even as he felt the sting of abandonment, David turned his turmoil over to God, asking Him for a deeper understanding of his circumstances (vv. 3-4). Anchoring himself in God’s unfailing covenantal love, David renews his trust in God (vv. 5-6). Like David, you may be going through a rough patch, engulfed by feelings of dread and abandonment. God may seem silent, but He is never absent. Scripture confirms He will never leave or forsake anyone who calls on Him (Heb. 13:5-6). Sim Kay Tee

Monday, October 30, 2017

Unraveling the Mysteries

With only two day's left in this last month of October before we head into the 11th month of the New Year as we start this New Week let us take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: Psalm 119:97–104 Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 20–21; 2 Timothy 4 I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.—Psalm 119:104 I have always enjoyed the wit and insight of Peanuts creator, Charles Schulz. One of my favorite cartoons drawn by him appeared in a book about young people in the church. It shows a young man holding a Bible as he tells a friend on the phone, “I think I’ve made one of the first steps toward unraveling the mysteries of the Old Testament . . . I’m starting to read it!” (Teen-Ager Is Not a Disease). Psalm 119 overflows with the writer’s hunger to understand and experience the power of God’s Word each day. “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long” (v. 97). This eager pursuit leads to growing wisdom, understanding, and obedience to the Lord (vv. 98–100). The Bible doesn’t contain a magic formula for “unraveling the mysteries” in its pages. The process is more than mental and requires a response to what we read. While some passages may remain puzzling to us, we can embrace those truths we clearly understand, and say to the Lord, “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path” (vv. 103–104). A wonderful journey of discovery awaits us in God’s Word. —David C. McCasland Lord, thank You for the Bible, which gives us wisdom and understanding to follow Your pathway of life today. A commitment to read and follow God’s Word begins a daily journey of discovering His love and power. INSIGHT: Psalm 119 is well known as the longest chapter in the Bible. It is an acrostic psalm where each section begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This psalm praises the goodness and value of God’s law. The law is a reflection of God’s character; as we look at the law, we learn about Him. As you spend time studying God’s Word this week, reflect on what you learn about the character of God. J.R. Hudberg

Friday, October 27, 2017

God Provides

The week has come to an end we have made it to FRIDAY! with only 2 more day left in the month before we head into the 11th month of the New Year which will be November but before we do lets just STOP and take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom. Read: Deuteronomy 24:19–22 Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 12–14; 2 Timothy 1 Those who work their land will have abundant food.—Proverbs 12:11 Outside my office window, the squirrels are in a race against winter to bury their acorns in a safe, accessible place. Their commotion amuses me. An entire herd of deer can go through our back yard and not make a sound, but one squirrel sounds like an invasion. The two creatures are different in another way as well. Deer do not prepare for winter. When the snow comes they eat whatever they can find along the way (including ornamental shrubs in our yard). But squirrels would starve if they followed that example. They would be unable to find suitable food. The deer and the squirrel represent ways that God cares for us. He enables us to work and save for the future, and He meets our need when resources are scarce. As the wisdom literature teaches, God gives us seasons of plenty so that we can prepare for seasons of need (Prov. 12:11). And as Psalm 23 says, the Lord leads us through perilous places to pleasant pastures. Another way that God provides is by instructing those with plenty to share with those in need (Deut. 24:19). So when it comes to provision, the message of the Bible is this: Work while we can, save what we can, share what we can, and trust God to meet our needs. —Julie Ackerman Link Thank You, Lord, for the promise that You will meet our needs. Help us not to fear or doubt. We’re grateful that You’re watching over us and that our cries for help reach Your ear. Our needs will never exhaust God’s supply. INSIGHT: How does God provide for us? What if the source of our help comes from someone of another religion or from someone who claims no belief in God? Is their kindness still from God? Think about the children of Israel. Who helped them in their escape from Egypt? Yes, it was God and Moses. But Moses tells us that the Spirit of God prompted the Egyptian neighbors to fill the arms of the Jewish slaves with gold, silver, and clothing for their journey (Ex. 12:35-36). Looking back on that day of great escape, in Deuteronomy 24 God reminds His people of two things. To help them identify with those in need, He wanted Israel to remember that their ancestors were once impoverished slaves. The second reminder grew out of the first. The Lord reminded His people that just as they had been helped in their escape from bondage, now it was their turn. As God had met their needs through the hands of others, so it was their turn to help others in a way that gives hands and faces to the heart of our provider God. Mart DeHaan

Monday, October 23, 2017

Brother to Brother

So here we are entering into the fourth week of October almost getting ready to wrap up the 10 month of the New Year as we start this New Week lets take a moment to reflect on the GREATNESS of God and ALL that he has done for us with these words of wisdom. Read: Genesis 33:1–11 Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 1–2; 1 Timothy 3 A new command I give you: Love one another.—John 13:34 My brother and I, less than a year apart in age, were quite “competitive” growing up (translation: we fought!). Dad understood. He had brothers. Mom? Not so much. Our story could have fit in the book of Genesis, which might well be subtitled A Brief History of Sibling Rivalry. Cain and Abel (Gen. 4); Isaac and Ishmael (21:8–10); Joseph and everyone not named Benjamin (ch. 37). But for brother-to-brother animosity, it’s hard to beat Jacob and Esau. Esau’s twin brother had cheated him twice, so he wanted to kill Jacob (27:41). Decades later Jacob and Esau would reconcile (ch. 33). But the rivalry continued on in their descendants, who became the nations of Edom and Israel. When the people of Israel prepared to enter the Promised Land, Edom met them with threats and an army (Num. 20:14–21). Much later, as Jerusalem’s citizens fled invading forces, Edom slaughtered the refugees (Obad. 1:10–14). Happily for us, the Bible contains not just the sad account of our brokenness but the story of God’s redemption as well. Jesus changed everything, telling His disciples, “A new command I give you: Love one another” (John 13:34). Then He showed us what that means by dying for us. As my brother and I got older, we became close. That’s the thing with God. When we respond to the forgiveness He offers, His grace can transform our sibling rivalries into brotherly love. —Tim Gustafson Lord, we invite You to transform our relationships with Your healing love. Sibling rivalry is natural. God’s love is supernatural. INSIGHT: Over twenty “one another” statements in the New Testament call us to focus on the needs of others. We are challenged to love, pray for, serve, comfort, and forgive one another. This week, will you watch for ways to extend love and grace to others through His Spirit? Bill Crowder

Friday, October 20, 2017

When Beauty Never Ends

It's the end of a Long work and school week as we come to the end of the third week of October YES! it's FRIDAY! lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: Psalm 27:1–4 Bible in a Year: Isaiah 59–61; 2 Thessalonians 3 Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.—Psalm 63:3 I love looking at the Grand Canyon. Whenever I stand at the canyon rim I see new brushstrokes of God’s handiwork that take my breath away. Even though it’s just a (very large) “hole” in the ground, the Grand Canyon causes me to reflect on heaven. A very honest twelve-year-old asked me once, “Won’t heaven be boring? Don’t you think we’ll get tired of praising God all the time?” But if a “hole in the ground” can be so overwhelmingly beautiful we can’t stop looking at it, we can only imagine the joy of one day seeing the very Source of beauty—our loving Creator—in all of the pristine wonder of the new creation. David expressed this longing when he wrote, “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord” (Ps. 27:4). There’s nothing more beautiful than the presence of God, which draws near to us on this earth as we seek Him by faith, looking forward to seeing Him face to face. On that day we’ll never tire of praising our amazing Lord, because we will never come to an end of fresh, new discoveries of His exquisite goodness and the wonders of the works of His hands. Every moment in His presence will bring a breathtaking revelation of His beauty and His love. —James Banks Beautiful Savior, please help me to seek You every day and to live even now in Your presence and Your love. We were created to enjoy God forever. INSIGHT: God is worthy of our faith, hope, and confidence; His power and presence are the foundation of many of the Old Testament stories. But sometimes life makes us question what we know. It’s hard to see these truths about God when life is hard. That’s when we need to view our experience through the lens of Scripture. David does just that in Psalm 27. Despite having been anointed king by Samuel, he is living as a vagrant and fugitive. Even though he is on the run and enemy armies are pursuing him (vv. 2-3), he is confident in the Lord (v. 3). It is just then—when David’s immediate experience suggests hopelessness—that he rests in the power and protection of the Lord. Turning his eyes away from his circumstances and toward the Lord bolstered David’s confidence. His one desire was not to be vindicated in front of his enemies, but to be in the presence of the Lord (v. 4). Turning to the Lord is what gave him confidence in the day of trouble (v. 5). Where does your experience need to be understood through the lens of Scripture? What truth about God do you need to be reminded of today? J.R. Hudberg

Monday, October 16, 2017

Room 5020

As we enter into the 3rd week of the month of October lets take some time to reflect on these words of wisdom as we start this brand New Week with Read: Genesis 50:15–20 Bible in a Year: Isaiah 47–49; 1 Thessalonians 4 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done.—Genesis 50:20 Jay Bufton turned his hospital room into a lighthouse. The fifty-two-year-old husband, father, high school teacher, and coach was dying of cancer, but his room—Room 5020—became a beacon of hope for friends, family, and hospital workers. Because of his joyful attitude and strong faith, nurses wanted to be assigned to Jay. Some even came to see him during off-hours. Even as his once-athletic body was wasting away, he greeted anyone and everyone with a smile and encouragement. One friend said, “Every time I visited Jay he was upbeat, positive, and filled with hope. He was, even while looking cancer and death in the face, living out his faith.” At Jay’s funeral, one speaker noted that Room 5020 had a special meaning. He pointed to Genesis 50:20, in which Joseph says that although his brothers sold him into slavery, God turned the tables and accomplished something good: “the saving of many lives.” Cancer invaded Jay’s life, but by recognizing God’s hand at work Jay could say that “God intended it for good.” That’s why Jay could use even the ravages of cancer as an open door to tell others about Jesus. What a legacy of unwavering trust in our Savior even as death was knocking at the door! What a testimony of confidence in our good and trustworthy God! —Dave Branon Lord, difficult things come into our lives so often. Please help us to trust You enough to see that nothing is beyond Your control. Help us to tell of Your love even in the tough times. By God’s grace, we can have our best witness in the worst of times. INSIGHT: While Joseph’s story had a spectacularly happy ending, it did not come overnight. When Joseph became the primary character in the Genesis narrative, he was only seventeen years old (Gen. 37:2). After about ten years as a slave in the household of Potiphar (captain of the bodyguard, a high official in Pharaoh’s court), he had risen to a position of great trust, managing Potiphar’s household properties and affairs. However, after Potiphar’s wife falsely accused him, Joseph was imprisoned for two years (41:1). When he was set free and assigned the post of vice-chancellor of Egypt, he was thirty years old (41:46). But there were seven years of plenty followed by two years of famine (45:6) before he came face-to-face with his brothers. That means that from the time he was sold into slavery to the time of family reconciliation, twenty-two years had transpired! How does the story of Joseph help you to realize there is no circumstance beyond God’s control? For further reading see Joseph: Overcoming Life’s Challenges at Bill Crowder

Friday, October 13, 2017

A New Name

Thank God we have made it to the end of the week YES! it's FRIDAY! lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: John 1:35–42 Bible in a Year: Isaiah 41–42; 1 Thessalonians 1 Jesus looked at him, and said, . . . “You will be called Cephas” (which, when translated, is Peter).—John 1:42 In the article “Leading by Naming,” Mark Labberton wrote about the power of a name. He said: “I can still feel the impact of a musical friend who one day called me ‘musical.’ No one had ever called me that. I didn’t really play an instrument. I was no soloist. Yet . . . I instantly felt known and loved. . . . [He] noticed, validated, and appreciated something deeply true about me.” Perhaps this is what Simon felt when Jesus renamed him. After Andrew was convinced that Jesus was the Messiah, he immediately found his brother Simon and brought him to Jesus (John 1:41–42). Jesus peered into his soul and validated and appreciated something deeply true about Simon. Yes, Jesus saw the failure and impetuous nature that would get him into trouble. But more than that He saw the potential of Simon to become a leader in the church. Jesus named him Cephas—Aramaic for Peter—a rock (John 1:42; see Matt. 16:18). And so it is with us. God sees our pride, anger, and lack of love for others, but He also knows who we are in Christ. He calls us justified and reconciled (Rom. 5:9–10); forgiven, holy, and beloved (Col. 2:13; 3:12); chosen and faithful (Rev. 17:14). Remember how God sees you and seek to let that define who you are. —Marvin Williams Lord, thank You for knowing me fully, yet loving me like no other. Help me to see others through Your eyes. No one can steal your identity in Christ. INSIGHT: Renaming people was common in the Scriptures, for a name described something about the person. In Genesis 17:5-15 Abram is renamed Abraham. Abram, which means “exalted father,” became Abraham, “father of multitudes.” Abraham’s grandson Jacob, whose name means “heel-grabber” and “schemer,” was renamed Israel, “prince of God.” The despondent Naomi asked her neighbors to no longer call her Naomi (delightful), but Mara (bitterness) because of the hard life she had experienced (Ruth 1:20). In the New Testament, a Christ-follower named Joseph was called Barnabas by the apostles (Acts 4:36). Barnabas means “son of encouragement,” which perfectly captured this man’s interactions with other believers and with the church. What name would describe you as a follower of Christ? Bill Crowder

Monday, October 9, 2017

From Worms to War

So here we are JUMP! starting a New Week as we start this New Week lets take to heart these words of wisdom to help encourage us for what lays ahead with Read: Judges 6:11–16, 36–40 Bible in a Year: Isaiah 32–33; Colossians 1 The Lord said to [Gideon], “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.” —Judges 6:23 It was ten-year-old Cleo’s first time fishing, and as he looked into the container of bait he seemed hesitant to get started. Finally he said to my husband, “Help me, I-S-O-W!” When my husband asked him what the problem was, Cleo responded, “I-S-O-W! I’m scared of worms!” His fear had made him unable to act. Fear can paralyze grown men too. Gideon must’ve been afraid when the angel of the Lord came to him as he was threshing wheat in secret, hiding from his Midianite enemies (Judg. 6:11). The angel told him he had been chosen by God to lead His people in battle (vv. 12–14). Gideon’s response? “Pardon me, my lord, . . . but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family” (v. 15). After being assured of the Lord’s presence, Gideon still seemed fearful and asked for signs that God would use him to save Israel as He promised (vv. 36–40). And God responded to Gideon’s requests. The Israelites were successful in battle and then enjoyed peace for forty years. We all have fears of various kinds—from worms to wars. Gideon’s story teaches us that we can be confident of this: If God asks us to do something, He’ll give us the strength and power to do it. —Anne Cetas Lord, thank You for the assurance that You are with us. To take the fear out of living, put your faith in the living God.

Friday, October 6, 2017

If I Knew Then . . .

So here we are at the end of the week YES! It is FRIDAY! I am so Thankful that we have made it to FRIDAY! lets just take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom. Read: 1 Peter 1:3–9 Bible in a Year: Isaiah 26–27; Philippians 2 In his great mercy [God] has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.—1 Peter 1:3 On the way to work, I listened to the song “Dear Younger Me,” which asks: If you could go back, knowing what you know now, what would you tell your younger self? As I listened, I thought about the bits of wisdom I might give my younger, less-wise self. Most of us have thought about how we might do things differently—if only we could do it all over again. But the song illustrates that even though we have regrets from our past, all our experiences have shaped who we are. We can’t change the consequences of our choices or sin. Praise God we don’t have to carry the mistakes around with us. Because of what Jesus has done! “In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”! (1 Peter 1:3). If we turn to Him in faith and sorrow for our sins, He will forgive us. On that day we’re made brand new and begin the process of being spiritually transformed (2 Cor. 5:17). It doesn’t matter what we’ve done (or haven’t done), we are forgiven because of what He’s done. We can move forward, making the most of today and anticipating a future with Him. In Christ, we’re free! —Alyson Kieda Dear Lord, I’m so thankful that through You we can be free of the burdens of the past—the mistakes, the pain, the sins—that hang so heavy. We don’t need to carry around regret or shame. We can leave them with You. For further study, read Live Free at Leave your heavy burdens with God. INSIGHT: Imagine meeting Jesus face to face—after knowingly denying ever knowing Him. Would we tell Him we haven’t been able to forgive ourselves? Would He know our heart and understand? During the Last Supper, Peter couldn’t imagine he would deny Jesus once—let alone three times (John 13:37-38). But then the unthinkable happened (Matt. 26:69-75). Later, however, Jesus gave Peter three opportunities to express love to the One who so mercifully forgave him (John 21:15-18). In that love and forgiveness Peter found a way forward. We too can move forward from the sins of our past through the love and forgiveness of Christ. Mart DeHaan

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Perfect Prayer Partner

Welcome to the 10th month of the New Year we have entered into a New month and a New Season as we starts this New Week in the month of October lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom. Read: Romans 8:31–34 Bible in a Year: Isaiah 14–16; Ephesians 5:1–16 [Jesus] is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.—Romans 8:34 Few sounds are as beautiful as hearing someone who loves you praying for you. When you hear a friend pray for you with compassion and God-given insight, it’s a little like heaven touching earth. How good it is to know that because of God’s kindness to us our prayers can also touch heaven. Sometimes when we pray we may struggle with words and feelings of inadequacy, but Jesus taught His followers that we “should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1). God’s Word shows us that one of the reasons we can do this is that Jesus Himself “is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Rom. 8:34). We never pray alone, because Jesus is praying for us. He hears us as we pray, and speaks to the Father on our behalf. We don’t have to worry about the eloquence of our words, because no one understands us like Jesus. He helps us in every way, presenting our needs before God. He also knows when the answers we ask for would not be good for us, handling every request or concern with perfect wisdom and love. Jesus is the perfect prayer partner—the friend who intercedes for us with immeasurable kindness. His prayers for us are beautiful beyond words, and should encourage us to always pray with thankfulness. —James Banks Thank You, Lord Jesus, for interceding for me with love. Help me to love and serve You with my prayers today. Visit us at for more resources on prayer. There’s no greater privilege than praying with Jesus. INSIGHT: From its opening affirmation to its closing declaration, Romans 8 is a powerhouse of encouragement for the follower of Christ. Today’s devotional highlights the reminder that Jesus Himself intercedes for us as we pray (v. 34). But there is even more help for us. Verse 26 tells us, “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Imagine—the Son and the Spirit help us as we pray. What great reassurance that gives! Do you struggle with your prayers? Knowing that divine help is available encourages us to keep praying—even when we aren’t sure how. Bill Crowder

Friday, September 29, 2017

Fresh Faith

So here we are we have made to the end of the week YES! It's FRIDAY! but it is also the last day of the month before we head into the 10th month of the New Year October is only 1 more day away MAN! time is moving but before we step into the month of October let's take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: John 20:24–29 Bible in a Year: Isaiah 7–8; Ephesians 2 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.—Hebrews 10:23 When our son was struggling with heroin addiction, if you had told me God would one day use our experience to encourage other families who face these kinds of battles, I would have had trouble believing it. God has a way of bringing good out of difficult circumstances that isn’t always easy to see when you are going through them. The apostle Thomas also didn’t expect God to bring good out of the greatest challenge of his faith—Jesus’s crucifixion. Thomas wasn’t with the other disciples when Jesus came to them after the resurrection, and in his deep grief he insisted, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were . . . I will not believe” (John 20:25). But later, when Jesus appeared to all the disciples together, out of the dust of Thomas’s doubts God’s Spirit would inspire a striking statement of faith. When Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” (v. 28), he was grasping the truth that Jesus was actually God in the flesh, standing right in front of him. It was a bold confession of faith that would encourage and inspire believers in every century that followed. Our God is able to inspire fresh faith in our hearts, even in moments when we least expect it. We can always look forward to His faithfulness. Nothing is too hard for Him! —James Banks Thank You, Lord, that Your love is stronger than our greatest difficulties—even our worst doubts or fears! God can change our doubts into bold statements of faith. INSIGHT: Though God may seem silent or even out of sight, He is never absent (Heb. 13:5). He is sovereignly working out things for our good; nothing is ever wasted in the hands of our God (see Rom. 8:28). In 1 Corinthians 10:13 the apostle Paul assures us that God will most certainly work things out for us: “The [trials] in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the [trials] to be more than you can stand. [God] will show you a way out so that you can endure” (nlt). When going through the difficulties of life, let us in faith see “him who is invisible” because “he who promised is faithful” (Heb. 11:27; 10:23). For further reflection, read 1 Corinthians 1:9, 1 Thessalonians 5:24, 2 Thessalonians 3:3, and 2 Timothy 2:13. Allow the faithful God to embrace you and give you fresh faith. Sim Kay Tee Share your thoughts on today’s devotional on Facebook or You can make a difference. Even the smallest donation helps reach people around the world with the life-changing wisdom of the Bible. DONATE Share With Your Friends Featured Video Our Daily Bread Ministries Our mission is to make the life-changing wisdom of the Bible understandable and accessible to all. Our vision is to see people of all nations experiencing a personal relationship with Christ, growing to be more like Him, and serving in a local body of His family. To read today's Our Daily Bread online visit Copyright © 2017, Our Daily Bread Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI 49555 USA. Written permission must be obtained from Our Daily Bread Ministries for any further posting or distribution. Scriptures taken from Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved. Our Daily Bread Ministries | 3000 Kraft Ave | Grand Rapids, MI 49512 Manage Your Subscription. Debbie Dennis 7:45 AM (9 minutes ago) to addie.carroll-., Alexis, Amy, Ashley, Bruce, catrice, cbazzett, Chimyra, Crystal, Cynthia, DeniAntionette, gayle, Glenn, jacquelinemizon, Jennifer, Jesika03, kiarataylor16, ley_morena, Roxanne, Miatta, Kim, MZNEL04, narciat, Natalie, Rachael -- You take care of your Soul. Click here to Reply, Reply to all, or Forward 3.97 GB (26%) of 15 GB used Manage Terms - Privacy Last account activity: 2 minutes ago Details

Monday, September 25, 2017

Apart but Not Abandoned

So here we are in the Last week of September has we start this New Week lets take a moment to reflect on ALL that God has done for us with this words of wisdom Read: Acts 20:17–20, 35–38 Bible in a Year: Song of Solomon 6–8; Galatians 4 Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up.—Acts 20:32 I had a lump in my throat as I said good-bye to my niece on the eve of her move to Massachusetts to attend graduate school at Boston University. Though she had been away four years as an undergraduate, she hadn’t left our state. A two and a one-half-hour drive easily reunited us. Now she would be more than 800 miles away. No longer would we meet regularly to talk. I had to trust that God would take care of her. Paul likely felt the same way as he said good-bye to the elders of the church in Ephesus. Having established the church and taught them for three years, Paul concluded these elders to be as close as family to him. Now that Paul was headed to Jerusalem, he would not see them again. But Paul had parting advice for the Ephesians. Though they would no longer have Paul as their teacher, the Ephesians did not have to feel abandoned. God would continue to train them through “the word of his grace” (Acts 20:32) to lead the church. Unlike Paul, God would always be with them. Whether it’s children we launch from the nest or other family and friends who move away—saying good-bye can be very difficult. They move beyond our influence and into their new lives. When we let go of their hands, we can trust that God has them in His. He can continue to shape their lives and meet their real needs—more than we ever could. —Linda Washington Lord, help us to trust that Your watchful care extends over those we hold dear who are far away from us. Though we’re far away from those we love, they are never far from God. INSIGHT: In today’s reading we see Paul’s painful good-bye to the church at Ephesus. It was Paul’s deep conviction that his departure would eventually lead to his martyrdom, not his return (v. 25). But other Bible texts add the encouragement that even death cannot cut the spiritual tie that binds us to other believers (John 14:1-5; Rom. 8:31-39). In this life on Earth, saying good-bye to those we love is difficult. But for followers of Christ, we can trust that God has us in His care and even death will not keep us apart. How does knowing God cares for your loved ones comfort you? For further study on the book of Acts check out this free course at Dennis Fisher

Friday, September 22, 2017

Sweet and Sour

So here we are at the end of the third week of September as we wrap up the end of the week as we start the First Day of Autumn on this FRIDAY! let's truly take some time to be Thankful and reflect on these words of wisdom Read: Job 2:1–10 Bible in a Year: Ecclesiastes 10–12; Galatians 1 Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?—Job 2:10 When our toddler first bit into a lemon wedge, he wrinkled his nose, stuck out his tongue, and squeezed his eyes shut. “Sow-wah,” he said (sour). I chuckled as I reached for the piece of fruit, intending to toss it into the trash. “No!” Xavier scampered across the kitchen to get away from me. “Moe-wah!” (more). His lips puckered with every juice-squirting bite. I winced when he finally handed me the rind and walked away. My taste buds accurately reflect my partiality to the sweet moments in life. My preference for avoiding all things bitter reminds me of Job’s wife, who seems to have shared my aversion to the sourness of suffering. Job surely didn’t delight in hardship or trouble, yet he honored God through heart-wrenching circumstances (Job 1:1–22). When painful sores afflicted Job’s body, he endured the agony (2:7–8). His wife told him to give up on God (v. 9), but Job responded by trusting the Lord through suffering and afflictions (v. 10). It’s natural to prefer avoiding the bitter bites in life. We can even be tempted to lash out at God when we’re hurting. But the Lord uses trials, teaching us how to trust Him, depend on Him, and surrender to Him as He enables us to persevere through difficult times. And like Job, we don’t have to enjoy suffering to learn to savor the unexpected sweetness of sour moments—the divine strengthening of our faith. —Xochitl Dixon Thank You for assuring us that suffering is never wasted when we place our confidence in who You are, what You’ve done, and what You’re capable of doing. God uses suffering to strengthen our faith. INSIGHT: In the ancient story of Job, we see a devout follower of God whose life has been laid bare by financial, family, and physical suffering. The book of Job asks the perennial question, “Why do the righteous suffer?” Job’s ordeals test his devotion to his Redeemer and Provider. Clearly the book shows how God uses suffering to strengthen believers’ faith and refine their character. Job declares, “But [God] knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). Has God used a trial in your life to refine your character and strengthen your faith? Dennis Fisher

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Team Challenge:From Pearl Jam to IBD Activist

Here is a Story from Mike McCready who was lead guitarist of the 90's hit band Pearl Jam. As lead guitarist for Pearl Jam, Mike McCready is truly a rock star. However, as an IBD patient, he has days where he can barely get out of bed, let alone think about performing in front of sold out crowds. Mike was 21-years-old when he was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). He had just moved to Los Angeles hoping to make it big with his band, Shadow, when he began experiencing debilitating stomach pain and urgency. Over the past three decades, Mike has been extremely open about his disease journey. It hasn’t been easy- he’s had accidents during performances, been on numerous medications, coped with the stress of traveling, and much more. But throughout it all, he found one constant- the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Mike has been a national spokesperson for the Foundation for years, hosting annual fundraisers, and sharing his story through the media. Mike is truly an inspiration for all patients living with these debilitating digestive diseases, and proof that having IBD doesn’t have to prevent you from achieving your dreams. He and his wife Ashley have participated in Team Challenge several times, including this past summer at the Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon. Mike was invited to share his story as our honored speaker at the Inspirational pasta party the night before the big race. Check out his truly inspiring speech. Mike McCready of Pearl Jam speaks about life with IBD

Monday, September 18, 2017

Watch the Conductor

As we enter into the fourth week of September lets start the New Week out taking time to reflect on these words of wisdom to help strengthen us for the remainder of the week that is ahead of us Read: Hebrews 12:1–3 Bible in a Year: Proverbs 30–31; 2 Corinthians 11:1–15 Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.—Hebrews 12:1–2 World-renowned violinist, Joshua Bell, has an unusual way of leading the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, a forty-four-member chamber orchestra. Instead of waving a baton he directs while playing his Stradivarius with the other violinists. Bell told Colorado Public Radio, “Even while I’m playing I can give them all kinds of direction and signals that I think only they would understand at this point. They know by every little dip in my violin, or raise in my eyebrow, or the way I draw the bow. They know the sound I’m looking for from the entire orchestra.” Just as the orchestra members watch Joshua Bell, the Bible instructs us to keep our eyes on Jesus our Lord. After listing many heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11, the writer says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Heb. 12:1–2). Jesus promised, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). Because He is, we have the amazing privilege of keeping our eyes on Him while He conducts the music of our lives. —David C. McCasland Lord, our eyes look to You this day so we may follow Your direction and live in harmony with You. Let us keep our eyes on Jesus our Savior as He directs our lives. INSIGHT: Have you ever walked away from a parent, teacher, coach, or military officer you thought was being too hard on you? The men and women of faith listed in Hebrews 11 must have wondered at times whether their God was asking more of them than they could possibly give. Yet through doubt, personal failure, and unfulfilled dreams, the Bible gives all of them honorable mention—as witnesses to the faith that has been entrusted to us. Now it’s our turn. When we face fears, we have the opportunity to follow the One who asks us to trust Him in a way that lifts us above own natural inclinations. This is a moment to remember the lingering witness of Jesus’s own disciples who so often heard the words, “Don’t be afraid.” From the stories of those who have gone before us, we are reminded that it was on a road of faith that Jesus and His witnesses suffered to bring others to God. Jesus invites us to experience for ourselves the honor of being witnesses to His faithfulness even when we struggle to trust Him. Mart DeHaan

Friday, September 15, 2017

What’s Your Father’s Name?

As we have come to the end of the third week of September YES! it's FRIDAY! and head into the weekend lets take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: John 8:39–47 Bible in a Year: Proverbs 22–24; 2 Corinthians 8 To those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.—John 1:12 When I went to buy a cell phone in the Middle East, I was asked the typical questions: name, nationality, address. But then as the clerk was filling out the form, he asked, “What’s your father’s name?” That question surprised me, and I wondered why it was important. Knowing my father’s name would not be important in my culture, but here it was necessary in order to establish my identity. In some cultures, ancestry is important. The Israelites believed in the importance of ancestry too. They were proud of their patriarch Abraham, and they thought being part of Abraham’s clan made them God’s children. Their human ancestry was connected, in their opinion, to their spiritual family. Hundreds of years later when Jesus was talking with the Jews, He pointed out that this was not so. They could say Abraham was their earthly ancestor, but if they didn’t love Him—the One sent by the Father—they were not part of God’s family. The same applies today. We don’t choose our human family, but we can decide the spiritual family we belong to. If we believe in Jesus’s name, God gives us the right to become His children (John 1:12). Who is your spiritual Father? Have you decided to follow Jesus? Let this be the day you trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and become part of God’s family. —Keila Ochoa Dear Lord, You are my heavenly and eternal Father. Thank You for Jesus, my Savior. God is our Eternal Father. INSIGHT: The Israelites of Jesus’s day had many Old Testament heroes, but three soared above the rest. David was the great king who established the city of Jerusalem and stabilized the kingdom. Moses was the leader who was given the law of God. He was God’s instrument of deliverance and led the Israelites to the threshold of the land of promise. But their most ancient hero was Abraham—the father of the faithful and the man whose faith was counted to him as righteousness. Jesus, however, surpasses this great heritage, for through Him we become children of God Himself. Bill Crowder

Monday, September 11, 2017

The One Who Understands

So we have approach the 3rd week of September as we start this New Week lets take a moment to reflect on the week ahead but let's also take a moment to Remember September 11th 16 years ago Today the Nation was jolted by what happened to the Two Twin Towers the Pentagon and Pennsylvania. Read: John 1:1–18 Bible in a Year: Proverbs 10–12; 2 Corinthians 4 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.—John 1:14 John Babler is the chaplain for the police and fire departments in his Texas community. During a twenty-two-week sabbatical from his job, he attended police academy training so that he could better understand the situations law enforcement officers face. Through spending time with the other cadets and learning about the intense challenges of the profession, Babler gained a new sense of humility and empathy. In the future, he hopes to be more effective as he counsels police officers who struggle with emotional stress, fatigue, and loss. We know that God understands the situations we face because He made us and sees everything that happens to us. We also know He understands because He has been to earth and experienced life as a human being. He “became flesh and made his dwelling among us” as the person of Jesus Christ (John 1:14). Jesus’s earthly life included a wide range of difficulty. He felt the searing heat of the sun, the pain of an empty stomach, and the uncertainty of homelessness. Emotionally, He endured the tension of disagreements, the burn of betrayal, and the ongoing threat of violence. Jesus experienced the joys of friendship and family love, as well as the worst problems that we face here on earth. He provides hope. He is the Wonderful Counselor who patiently listens to our concerns with insight and care (Isa. 9:6). He is the One who can say, “I’ve been through that. I understand.” —Jennifer Benson Schuldt Dear Lord, thank You for caring enough to humble Yourself and come to earth as a human being. God understands the struggles we face.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Carried Through

Made it to the end of the second week of September it's FRIDAY! as we take a moment to reflect on these words of wisdom Read: Psalm 30:1–12 Bible in a Year: Proverbs 3–5; 2 Corinthians 1 Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.—Psalm 30:5 I recently stumbled across some of my journals from college and couldn’t resist taking time to reread them. Reading the entries, I realized I didn’t feel about myself then the same as I do today. My struggles with loneliness and doubts about my faith felt overwhelming at the time, but looking back now I can clearly see how God has carried me to a better place. Seeing how God gently brought me through those days reminded me that what feels overwhelming today will one day be part of a greater story of His healing love. Psalm 30 is a celebration psalm that similarly looks back with amazement and gratitude on God’s powerful restoration: from sickness to healing, from threat of death to life, from feeling God’s judgment to enjoying His favor, from mourning to joy (vv. 2–3,11). The psalm is attributed to David, to whom we owe some of the most pain-filled laments in Scripture. But David also experienced restoration so incredible he was able to confess, “Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (v. 5). Despite all the pain he had endured, David discovered something even greater—God’s powerful hand of healing. If you are hurting today and need encouragement, recall those times in your past when God carried you through to a place of healing. Pray for trust that He will do so again. —Monica Brands Lord, when our struggles feel bigger than what we can handle, help us to find comfort and strength in how You’ve carried us before. God is lovingly working toward restoration and joy in and through the pain of our lives. INSIGHT: For encouragement as you face the difficulties of life, read When the Going Gets Tough at