DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Eleven, Day Seven plus Review

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor”

Week Eleven, Day Seven plus Review

 

“Out of the depths I cry to You, O LORD; O Lord, here my voice. Let Your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If You, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness; therefore You are feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His Word I put my hope.” Psalm 130:1-5 (NIV)

 

How gracious is the Lord Jesus Christ to pardon the iniquities of each breathing soul who cries out to Him for forgiveness. Jesus spoke very plainly on the topic of the consequences of sin and not entrusting our hearts to Him for eternal keeping in Luke 16:19-31. In this account, Jesus clearly affirmed not only the reality of hell and hadees, but also the sheer agony and torment experienced by any and all who choose to ignore the free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. The suffering within hell will be eternal (Isaiah 66:24) and it is for the love of those created of God, humanity as a whole, that Jesus Christ stepped down from heavenly glory in order to redeem the mess that each of us contribute to the fallen human condition (Ephesians 2:8-9). Ezekiel 33:11 encourages us in that the Lord does not take pleasure in having any experience the eternal torment, unprecedented suffering and utter separation from God, that is the reality of hell and hadees (John 3:16). Yet, for all who do not choose Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and do not confess their sins to Him, this is the coming reality (1 John 1:9-10). Ladies, hear this today, as hard as things may be in your present sufferings—NOTHING experienced on earth can match or surpass the excruciating pain and torment of hell. Praise the Lord that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself now holds the keys of death and hadees (Revelation 1:18). There is eternal freedom from suffering through Jesus Christ alone (John 11:25). He alone holds the keys after He victoriously conquered the grave on the third day (Matthew 16:21, Romans 6:9, Romans 14:9 & 1 Corinthians 15:3-4)! If you have not given your life to Jesus Christ in the past, or are reading this today, and are sincerely unsure as to where you would go if you died today—pray with me now to accept Jesus Christ into your heart this very moment.

 

Dear Lord Jesus,

I confess that I am a sinner—a person who has messed up in life—and need to be forgiven by You. I believe that You are the one and only Son of God, and that You were raised from the dead on the third day. I ask You to come into my heart and be the boss and Lord of my life from today into forevermore. Thank You for loving me enough to make a way for me to avoid eternal punishment. You are now my Savior, Lord Jesus. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

 

Prayer For Today:

Lord Jesus, You alone reign. You have told the stars where to stand and defined how far the tide should rise. The migratory patterns of birds, mammals and aquatic life are all ordained by You. With all Your splendor, with all Your grandeur, You make time for a mere mortal like—me. Lord Jesus, You assured Your disciples with compassion, that not even a sparrow falls from the sky without Your notice and stated that we are so much more precious than birds (Matthew 6:26). As my nerves are shot and anxiety builds with yet more changes and challenges on the horizon, teach me to pour my heart out to You in praise and worship. Teach me to love well those You have given to me and praise You while I practice servanthood towards them. Teach me to worship You rather than worshipping comfort and all its forms of pleasure for You alone deserve my loyalty and praise. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

 

**Week Eleven in review. Please write down the most meaningful verse from this past week below. As you do, tell the Lord how mighty He is. Remind your own soul of the greatness of God. In the midst of hardship, remember that God is at work in your life, encouraging you to keep trusting Him for a solution to each difficulty and heartache of life (Isaiah 49:13).

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Eight, Day Seven

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor”

Week Eight, Day Seven

 

“Sing to God! Sing praises to His name. Exalt Him who rides on the clouds — His name is Yahweh–and rejoice before Him.” Psalm 68:4 (HCSB)

 

After being rescued from captivity in Egypt, the Israelite people were guided around the desert for forty years by a pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21). Whether we are called to walk a road that we can see far down the path or not, rest in the assurance that God, Yahweh, will provide the light we need to walk the road we are called to (Psalm 119:105). When we find ourselves slumping into a place of depression and lack of hope to make it through a tumultuous time, reflect on the Lord’s faithfulness. This is the very thing the Israelites did as they would travel to Jerusalem three times a year for their great festivals. Psalm 126 is one of these such songs of ascent that were sung by the Israelite people as they would travel to Jerusalem. Much in the same way, our strength and hope are sharpened, as were the Israelites, as we take the time to reflect on the goodness of God in the midst of a trying time. It is of great comfort to take hold of the solid truth that the LORD is mighty to save—in His perfect timing and His perfect way (Isaiah 55:8-9).

 

Prayer For Today:

Jesus, please help me to praise You when all I can do is question. You alone are good. You alone are just. You alone can redeem this situation. I pray that You will give me praise and an undeniable joy in knowing that You have a purpose for this season. Please be with (name)__________ in the midst of the pain. Please work in miraculous ways to bring healing—in Your mighty name, for Your glory. I know that one day, all sickness, sin and death will finally be defeated due to Your victory (Revelation 21:4). Help me to faithfully trust You and listen to You each day as I return sincere praise that You are God and You can make a way where there is no way. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

 

**Week Eight in review:

Please take a moment to reflect on the biblical realities of promised peace amidst chaos. What are some things you can do to declare the Lord’s praise to your own heart in this season of chaos? How good the Lord is to never give us more than we can hand over to Him (1 Peter 5:7). He is worthy to be praised.

 

***Optional Service Project (Acts 20:35):

This week for the optional service project, go for a walk outdoors and pick up ten pieces of trash from the path you walk. When we are in a season characterized by grief and ongoing trauma, finding ways to bless others and see the physical results of our efforts is sincerely gratifying. As you pick up the trash, pray for those who will walk down that same outdoor setting later that day. Ask the Lord to draw others closer to Himself as they are able to see the beauty of His created world (Isaiah 55:11-12).

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley of Achor” Week Four, Day Two

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley of Achor”

 

Week Four, Day Two:

 

“You will not leave in a hurry, running for your lives. For the LORD will go ahead of you; yes, the God of Israel will protect you from behind.” Isaiah 52:12 (NLT)

 

Depression, self-loathing, rage, addiction, envy, lust, slander and continual worry are not at all what the LORD has in store for our lives. Thus, when we feel such emotions welling up inside of us, we are to recall that God has provided a way out of the slump, out of the muck and out of the mire that we are covered in at times. We have been called to higher living. As we pray for the LORD to lead us out, He will lead the way as well as protect us from attacks as we leave. How comforting to know, we truly are surrounded by His everlasting protection. Claim Isaiah 52:12 for your own life if you believe on Jesus Christ and walk in its truth today.

 

Prayer for today:

LORD, I am really struggling with ___________ and I cannot hide it any longer. Thank You for not only providing a way out, but actually leading the way (Isaiah 52:12). Thank You that You protect me from attacks as I leave that which tempts me. Please give me wisdom, Jesus. Please help (name)_________ to experience Your guidance in this hellish experience. Help (name)_________ to claim the truth that You are the rear guard as the toxic situation and negative emotions are walked away from. Show Your mercy to us again, LORD. Our hope is in You alone. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

 

Seeing Through True Sight

Have you ever realized how little time is actually spent in sincere quiet? Not only is there the noise of sound, but also that of light. How many times have you noticed an update come across your device screen late at night, only to realize that once you read the notification, you were not able to easily go to sleep? I know I have been there; many times.

The Lord has really been placing upon my heart the need to live only for Him. Not to care what others say on social media or in real life, but rather to focus solely on knowing Him. I am one to talk and share stories, but lately, the Lord has been challenging me in this. “Remember when I was enough?” He whispered to my heart this morning. I nearly burst into tears as I pulled away from morning school drop off for our kids. I was absolutely shattered in the truth of these words.

This was the second time this morning the Lord had spoken clear as day to my soul. As I had looked into the mirror and saw a tired woman staring back at me, complete with the reality that youth was beginning to wave good-bye, the Lord spoke clearly to my heart. “The more you let go of the world, the more you will find Me.”

Feelings of inferiority can sweep into our souls for a variety of reasons at a moment’s notice. Remember, the devil is good at finding ways to steal, kill and destroy our joy, our hope and our ability to follow hard after God (John 10:10). Yet, the Lord brought truth to my soul that did wonders for my anxious heart this morning. Despite what I can see, God does not look at the exterior—period. The human eye can only grasp perspective from the exterior, but God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Oh what deception our human eyes report! Our eyes see an ocean of sorrow, our faith in God will allow us to see that same ocean part to reveal a way through it. Our eyes see devastating fire of chaos, our faith in God will reveal that we will be sustained through the blaze and we will not be burned. Our eyes see giants, too big to defeat, standing between us and the promises God has given to us; our faith in God reveals to us that God has already given us the victory…now it is our honor to walk in it.

Regardless of what may be weighing you down today, ask the Lord what He would have you focus on. Ask Him for spiritual sight to reveal your freedom through Jesus Christ from the ways of the world. Without the Lord Jesus, we are all spiritually blind. There is so much more going on around us than what we can see with the mere naked human eye. Ladies, I don’t care if you have been a Christian since you were only a few years of age or if you have just come to faith this very day, the moment we begin to take our eyes off of Christ and become focused on the things around us, we will find our spirits downcast and our vision blurred. Why? Our focus was never meant to be on anything other than Christ when seeking lasting satisfaction. Praise God for His redemption and love! How valuable is the One, Jesus Christ, who took my punishment of rebellion against God upon Himself and gave me His righteousness in return (2 Corinthians 5:21). May we pray for our eyes, as well as the eyes of those around us, to be opened to the myriad of ways in which God is working and moving in and through our lives. This very same thing was prayed by the prophet Elisha for his anxious servant, and suddenly, the servant was a gasp at the number of heavenly warriors fighting on their behalf—whom had all been veiled from his earthly sight. Yet, now that the servant could see these angelic warriors, ablaze with fire, the fact that they were surrounded by enemy soldiers no longer caused fear (2 Kings 6:16-17). The battle is the Lord’s! Allow God and His heavenly armies to fight the battles of inferiority, anxiety and silent need on your behalf…our victory is found in HIM.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley of Achor” Week Three COMPLETE

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley of Achor” week three

Theme of Week Three: God Will Revive Me

 

Week Three, Day One:

 

11For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

 

When sin entered the world, suffering was on its heels. The plans of God were never for us to suffer or experience heartache. In fact, Adam and Eve experienced perfect communion with God—and even walked together in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:8)! Sin has infested all aspects of this world, and suffering is one of its first fruits. When we find ourselves and those we love battling hardships and deception, may we recognize it for what it is—the products of a broken world. The perfect rescue, the ultimate salvation from the spiral of destructive living—is found in Jesus Christ alone.

 

Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, thank You that suffering was not intended for any of our lives. Thank You for providing a way out of the suffering that brings tears to our eyes and anxiety to our hearts. Thank You for the hope and future that I have in You. Thank You that You have a hope and future for (name)_________ as well. In this very day, please help this ascending truth to soak into (name)________ heart. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

 

 

 

Week Three, Day Two:

 

“ 6Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NASB)

 

Humility can be the furthest thing from our minds as we are looking for something, apart from a current tragedy, to occupy our thoughts. Yet, as we live out 1 Peter 5:6-7, and humble ourselves under the awesome and mighty hand of God, we will find comfort. It is there, under His hand that we will experience shelter for our soul. It is there, under submission to His just leadership, that we will discover lasting hope. And it is there, that we are encouraged to throw our troubles at the feet of God—because He cares for us.

 

Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, thank You for the protection of Your mighty hand. LORD God, You are so powerful, the Bible tells us that You have measured the waters of the oceans in the palm of Your hand (Isaiah 40:12). What an incredible fortress, we can find under the protection of Your hand. Please help (name)_______ to experience Your protection. Help (name)_________ to awaken to the reality that (name)_______ can truly bring all sorrows and grieves before You as 1 Peter 5:7 assures us, because You sincerely care. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

 

 

 

 

Week Three, Day Three:

 

“The One who made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns darkness into dawn and darkens day into night, who summons the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the earth– Yahweh is His name.” Amos 5:8 (HCSB)

 

The famous constellations of the Pleiades and Orion are referenced here in the book of Amos to serve as a powerful reminder. How truly sobering to consider that these awe inspiring creations, that silently circle our globe, were made by an even more awesome Creator. When silent storms rage on in our personal lives or of those we cherish, may we not simply look to the stars for guidance, but rather look to the very One who made the stars—Yahweh the LORD is His name.

 

 

Prayer for today:

Dear LORD, You are God and there is no other (Isaiah 43:10). You have demonstrated Your reign and rule over Your creation. Thank You for not only taking interest in humanity as a whole, but for caring individually for me. Thank You for caring for (name)________. Thank You that no challenge is too great for You to clean up. Allow these famous constellations to be a forever reminder to (name)________ that You are God and You have power over all created and uncreated things. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

 

 

 

 

Week Three, Day Four:

 

“This is My Servant; I strengthen Him, this is My Chosen One; I delight in Him. I have put My Spirit on Him; He will bring justice to the nations.” Isaiah 42:1 (HCSB)

 

Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of this prophesy in Matthew 12:17-21. May our hearts come to the unshakeable reality that salvation is found through Jesus Christ alone. He is the one and only Son of God; second part of the triune Godhead. He was the atonement for the failures of all mankind. And after He rose from the dead on the third day, Jesus promised the coming of the Holy Spirit, the third part of the trinity. The Holy Spirit dwells in the hearts of every believer. Through Jesus, we are promised that no matter our circumstances, we are truly overcomers, if we anchor our hearts in the everlasting security of Jesus Christ.

 

Prayer for today:

Lord Jesus, I come to You with sincere need. The Bible assures me that the Holy Spirit is the advocate for the soul (John 15:26). Please bring justice to the situation unfolding in (name)__________ life. I am out of ideas of where to go from here. Help me to give You the details and prayerfully follow Your lead. In Your name I pray, amen.

 

 

Week Three, Day Five:

 

14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens — Jesus the Son of God — let us hold fast to the confession. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. 16Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.” Hebrews 4:14-16 (HCSB)

 

 

As Solomon so beautifully put it, there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). How encouraging to recall that civilizations of centuries past and present societies alike have all faced the same temptations and shortcomings. Even more encouraging, is the reality that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is able to sympathize with our weaknesses and shortcomings. He was tempted and tested with every kind of sin this world can offer—yet never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). Amazing. It is then by Jesus’ perfect life, that we all are able to boldly come before God’s throne in prayer, to receive mercy and find grace for the shortcomings that have stained our lives.

 

Prayer for today:

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You that any life can be power washed by Your ultimate act of love on the cross (Isaiah 53:5). You paid the penalty that each and every person on this spinning globe deserves. Thank You that no one—no matter how heinous the crime or depraved the situation—no one is beyond Your redemption. Thank You for redeeming my life. Thank You for offering redemption to (name)____________ as well.

 

 

 

Week Three, Day Six:

 

25My life is down in the dust; give me life through Your word. 26I told You about my life, and You listened to me; teach me Your statutes.” Psalm 119:25-26

 

 

How wonderful to recall that we can receive words of life through the Bible (Psalm 119:25). When we feel lifeless due to deepest sorrow and agonizing pain, how beautiful to remember that we can come before the Lord, just as the psalmist did, and pour out our hearts before a listening God. In the midst of chaos and grief, may we pray for a teachable spirit, as the psalmist indeed did, in order to better align our will to His perfect will.

 

Prayer for today:

O LORD, this is hard. This is excruciatingly hard. I do not know what else to do at this point. I feel like I am down in the dirt. I do not know what next step is best. Thank You for listening to me share what’s on my heart. Thank You for listening to (name)_________. Please teach me Your ways. Please teach me what would best please You in (name)__________ current circumstances. I thank You that we are heard by You, an all-knowing and all-loving God. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

 

 

 

Week Three, Day Seven:

 

“For I will pour water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your descendants and My blessing on your offspring.” Isaiah 44:3 (HCSB)

 

In this life, each soul experiences seasons that much resembles deserts. The realities of sandstorms in this already dry and desolate environment further highlight the irreplaceable value of water to sustain life. How beautiful that Jesus Christ Himself assures us that He is the “living water” to quench the thirst of our souls (John 7:38). When we claim the words of the Bible for our own life, our souls will experience refreshment that comes from the Spirit of the Living God on all who call upon the name of the LORD.

 

Prayer for today:

Lord Jesus, please teach me to need You in the midst of this pain. Teach me to need You to the point that I sincerely see my dependence upon Your guidance and favor as water for my own body. Thank You that we are never left in the desert, but that You pour out Your refreshment to each one in need. Help (name)_________ heart to experience Your living water within the tired and dry seasons. Help me to be faithful in lifting up (name)__________ to You by name. You can refresh any situation—even (name)___________. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

 

 

 

**Week Three in review. Please write down the most meaningful verse from this past week below. As you do, please take the time to thank God for His Word. How great is His love for us! How grateful I am that I do not have to go through this excruciating time alone—and girlfriend, you do not have to go alone either. Thank the Lord for His ever-present love.

 

 

**Optional Service Project (Acts 20:35): Bless someone else by making them a meal and dropping it off at their door. Now, it doesn’t have to be a seven coarse meal, but it is best if it is indeed made by you. There is something about working for the betterment of another that has a way of lifting our spirits. As you make your meal, pray for the Lord to bless them and reveal His will in their lives. Now, if you really do not feel confident in your cooking, dropping off a meal is great, too…just remember to pray over the person who will be receiving the meal.

 

 

HOMESCHOOLING in COVID…Counting in the Bible

Number Counting from 1-12—This could be used to help remember the clock numbers, too

One. There is one God (1 Chronicles 17:20).

Two. The Bible has two parts; the Old Testament and the New Testament (Psalm 119:105)

Three. God has three parts: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16-17)

Four. The first four disciples of Jesus were Peter, Andrew, James and John (Matthew 4:18-22)

Five. A little boy was used by Jesus to feed over 5,000 with his lunch of two fish and five barley loaves (John 6:1-13)

Six. On day six of creation, God made every animal that crawls and walks as well as mankind (Genesis 1:24-31).

Seven. On day seven of creation, God rested (Genesis 2:2).

Eight. Josiah was eight years old when he became king (2 Kings 22:1).

Nine. Jesus healed ten men, but nine did not say thank you (Luke 17:17).

Ten. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 4:13).

Eleven. After Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to His eleven disciples (Mark 16:14-15).

Twelve. Jesus told His twelve disciples that anyone who wants to be first in God’s kingdom, must be the very last and the servant to all (Mark 9:35).

HOMESCHOOLING in COVID…The only way to get to heaven: Jesus

Activities to Illustrate Bible Themes

The only way to get to heaven: Jesus

  1. Take a standard piece of blank paper

Do you see it? Are there any hints on the front or back? How can we get to heaven? Well, allow us to find out how by following along.

 

  1. While orienting the piece of paper “hot dog” or as a standard piece of paper to be read, fold the top right corner down to the left side of the paper (should resemble a sail from a sailboat)

Some think that they can get to heaven by sailing there on a big ship. Is this the way we got to heaven? (No.)

 

  1. Fold the top left corner down to the right side of the paper (should resemble a house with a pointed roof)

Some think that they can get to heaven by having lots of things. Some think that by having all of the latest toys, clothing and friends, surely they will make it. But, is this how we get to heaven? (No.)

 

  1. Fold both sides inward-about two inches (should resemble a rocket ship)

Some think that if they are smart enough they will get to heaven. But, is this how we get to heaven? (No.)

 

  1. Have an adult unfold the last step and cut both sides off (along the folds).

The only way that we can get to heaven is to acknowledge our need for help from Jesus Christ and tell God we are sorry for trying to do it on our own.

 

  1. As you unfold it, a cross will be revealed. Jesus is the only way to get to heaven and be right with God the Father.

Through believing in your heart that Jesus Christ is Lord and saying that you want to follow Him with your life, you will get to go to heaven. J No matter where in the world you live, the truth remains the same. Jesus came to Earth in order to offer the joy of heaven and eternal life to all who will believe in His name. How cool is that?! J If you have never trusted Jesus with your heart before, you can do so now and know that you will go to heaven.

 

Feel free to pray with me now: Dear Jesus, I believe that you are God’s one and only Son. I believe that you took the big timeout (death on the cross) for me so that I will not have to. Thank you for loving me like you do. Please come into my heart and be the King of my life forever. I want to go to heaven. I want to make you happy. In Jesus name, amen.

 

Two verses to confirm what is being said:

 

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (NLT)

 

“that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” Romans 10:9-10 (NASB)

Remembering Our Purpose As Parents Amidst Quarantine and COVID-19

“7 But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them as dung, so that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ[a]—the righteousness from God based on faith. 10 My goal is to know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death, 11 assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead.”

Philippians 3:7-11 (CSB)

 

As many parents scramble to find ways to entertain their children all day, amidst schools, restaurants and parks are closed—and even play dates are discouraged globally; may we, as Christians, breathe deep … in the peace that only Jesus can give.

 

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NASB)

Rather than viewing this time of quarantine with great fear, during the spread of a virus without a known cure, may we thank God for this precious time with our children and families.

 

16Rejoice always; 17pray without ceasing; 18in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

COVID-19 will be something our children will remember for the rest of their lives and share with their own children and their children’s children. And along with the memories of hand sanitizers, deep cleanings around the home to wipe out potential germs and daddy and mommy having unexpected time off of work—all while not being advised to leave the home, the children will remember how daddy and mommy reacted. Did we, as parents, react and function out of a heart of panic or a heart filled with praise and trust in the God who holds all things together?

 

16For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:16-17 (NASB)

 

This pandemic is still globally on the move. And as parents, we can still allow our children to remember this time as one spent in family prayer, Bible crafts (ideas linked below) and a home atmosphere of trust in God rather than allowing our mood and outlook to be continually swayed by the latest newsfeed.

 

 

Mamas, may I appeal to you in absolute love—don’t miss out on this blessing of these next few weeks! Rather than following the trends of either allowing the children to self-govern their unexpected days at home, may we use this time to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ at home! If you have never had a conversation about eternity with your children; what a beautiful and natural segue in the midst of a pandemic that is claiming the lives of those ranging from elderly to elementary. Life is uncertain, but the Good News of the Bible is that our hope is certain. In fact, because of the empty tomb of Jesus Christ on the third day, we have a Living Hope. 

 

3For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NASB)

 

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Celebrations Amidst Suffering: Following Jesus In All Circumstances

As Easter this year is still quite a ways off, may we begin NOW to prepare our hearts and minds for the victory celebration of Jesus conquering the grave. Death could not hold Him; it had no claim on Him (Romans 6:9). He was perfect in every way (Hebrews 7:26-28). Tempted as we each are, yet He never once gave into it (Hebrews 4:15). Thus, when He took the punishment of all humanity upon His shoulders as He was nailed to the cross—for my shame, for your shame—He endured it out of His loyal love for all (Matthew 27:33-56). As Jesus explained to Peter just hours previous in the Garden of Gethsemane as Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, brought the religious leaders and temple guards to arrest Jesus:

 

51And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. 52Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. 53“Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels?54“How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?”

55At that time Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would against a robber? Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not seize Me. 56“But all this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures of the prophets.” Then all the disciples left Him and fled.”

Matthew 26:51-56 (NASB)

 

In a Christian culture that is beginning to find very little, if any, room for suffering in the modern age—may we look to the example of our Risen Lord Jesus. In a day and age where it is more common to look for ways to receive blessing, rather than give it away—may we look to the example of our Risen Lord Jesus. For a Christian by name means “little Christ”. May we remember the words of Jesus:

 

20“Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21“But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. 22“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23“He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24“If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. 25“But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE.’

      26“When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, 27and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.” John 15:20-27 (NASB)

 

Christian church, may we be bold in our witness for Jesus Christ, regardless of our life circumstances. Why? Because Jesus Christ assures us confidently in John 16:33 that sufferings and troubles in this life WILL COME, but to take heart seeing as He has in fact overcome the world. Thank Jesus for His love, His grace and His direction over your life as a believer today. And if you have never actually placed your eternal salvation into the saving reality of Jesus, this is your moment.

You simply pray, LORD JESUS I am a sinner. I have screwed up in this life and have come to find that I cannot be perfect on my own. But, I believe that You are. And that You paid the price of death on a cross for me. Please forgive me of my wrong doings, my offenses and my rebellion against You. I turn away from any other way that I have been relying upon for eternal life. I’m all in, Jesus. I want to only follow You. Please come into my heart and take over my life. Thank You for Your forgiveness. Thank You for Your mercy. Thank You for Your grace. Help me to live for You each day, MY LORD JESUS CHRIST. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

 

“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,” 2 Timothy 1:7-10 (NASB)