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

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

Theme of Week Nine: God Loves Unabashedly

Week Nine, Day One


“The name of Yahweh is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are protected.” Proverbs 18:10 (HCSB)


Not only angels, but demons also know the name of Yahweh, the LORD and shutter. The Bible shares an account of two demon-possessed men leaving the tombs and seeing Jesus walking on the road towards them. They immediately recognize Jesus. They call Him by His name “Son of God” and shutter. Evil is acutely aware that the LORD will put an end to all of the torment of this world in His perfect timing. Jesus indeed casts the demons out of the two men with one word “go” and the demons enter a herd of pigs—that run off a cliff and perish (Matthew 8:28-32). May we never believe any false teachings that share that evil is stronger than the LORD! The safest place to be is in the will of God for your life. At times this will include devastating pain and sincere heart cries to the LORD—do not be dismayed! This account clearly states that nothing is allowed to pass into our lives—or stay—for any longer than the LORD’s perfect will. In your own circumstance today, be encouraged to bring your confusion and unanswered questions before the LORD in light of His truth of ultimate love and perfect peace amidst our journey through this fallen world. If your hope and salvation rest in the hands of Jesus Christ as LORD, claim scriptures, such as Proverbs 18:10 to remind yourself of the ultimate victory and eternal hope that we have in Jesus. Run to the LORD as your strong tower this very day.


Prayer For Today:

Dear Lord, please be my strong tower. I feel attacked from all sides. I feel helpless to stop the events unfolding in (name)___________ life. If it be Your will, please take away this suffering immediately. But, if it be Your will for us to walk this road of chaos to further draw us closer to Yourself, help me to praise You for the opportunity to grow in faith. Thank You for Your love for (name)___________. Your love is perfect and I trust You to save (name)___________ in the perfect way—in the perfect time. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.



Front Door Evangelism: Living Missionally in 2019

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (CSB)


Have you ever stopped and really considered just how convenient the modern day life is? I mean, one can click a few buttons on a phone and within a short span of time—boom!—groceries are delivered! Yet, something struck me a while back regarding our modern age; we are more “connected” than ever, yet STARVING for real person-to-person interactions. No matter where you are, faces are cast downward, not in sadness, but in intense interest of whatever is on their personal glowing screen. My point? People seem more and more preoccupied (and frankly, distracted) with silly cat videos than interacting with the next human sitting in a waiting room with them. My heart longs to connect people with the God who made them—and this new reality of our current first world nation has really been a burden on my heart—until—DELIVERY!


And just like that, with one word, the dynamics of an entire way of trying to reach various people groups while being a stay-at-home homeschooling mama changed…we can live missionally for Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20) even while receiving our groceries! How is this possible you may be asking? Well, simply put, we just must be willing to OPEN THE FRONT DOOR.


As groceries, pizza, etc. are delivered to your door, a brief one-on-one interaction with a perfect stranger is presented—right on your front door step! No screens. No distractions of this or that. Simply a snippet in time that can beautifully hold the question “In whom are you trusting for your eternal salvation?” Will it catch people off guard, yep. Will it make some people laugh, possibly. But if we TRULY love people (John 3:16) as we are called to love people, it is not a matter of looking good or even appealing to what is politically correct in a given political climate. No, to live missionally for the Lord Jesus Christ is to boldly declare that each life we interact with matters in light of eternity—and Jesus Christ proved it by dying on the cross as the punishment for human failings of all humanity—while He Himself was without fault—to ransom and redeem any and all who would call upon Him to be saved (Romans 10:9-10).


May I challenge you? The next time you order delivery (be it for groceries, take-out, etc.) see it as a way of being a missionary…from your own front door! No passport required. No special language training necessary. Simply open the door and be willing to be a bold witness for the Lord Jesus Christ and convey the love of Jesus Christ for that individual in delivery clothing.


Remember, it is the Holy Spirit who convicts hearts and wins souls. We are responsible to faithfully share, but it is up to the Holy Spirit to draw people to Himself. So, don’t sweat it if the delivery person isn’t willing to accept Jesus right then and there. But!!! Do not allow that to hinder you from sharing of the powerful, eternal and life-altering truth that JESUS ACTUALLY LOVES THEM (1 John 4:9-10)…and proved it by dying on the cross and rising from the dead on the third day. 


27And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, 28so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.” Romans 9:27-28 (NASB)


Well, the time is now church. We can impact the nations of the world right from our own homes now through modern conveniences. The only question that remains is — what’s for dinner? How about DELIVERY

Ascending Love; An Easter Story

“He was right.” Thomas recalled to himself. Still staring up into the sky, with the remaining ten disciples. Thomas continued, “I will forever sing Your praises, Jesus. Thank you.” Jesus of Nazareth had ascended into heaven after conquering death on a cross, just as the prophecies said of the Messiah (Psalm 16:10, Isaiah 52:13-Isaiah 53:12, Daniel 7:13-14, John 14:1-4, John 16:16, John 16:25-28).


51While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven. 52And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53and were continually in the temple praising God.” Luke 24:51-52 (NASB)


As the eleven disciples walked on the road back to Jerusalem from Bethany, following the ascension of Jesus into heaven (Luke 24:50), Thomas recalled the Passover within this whirlwind of supernatural events that had been the past three and a half years of Jesus’ ministry. For this year’s Passover, Jesus had rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey’s colt, which fulfilled the prophecy (Zechariah 9:9). This year had marked their fourth Passover with Jesus. But, as they had entered Jerusalem this year, they were met with a large crowd of people waving palm branches and shouting praises.


12On the next day the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, “Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel.” 14Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, 15“FEAR NOT, DAUGHTER OF ZION; BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING, SEATED ON A DONKEY’S COLT.” (John 12:12-15 NASB)


All were dressed in their best as they had come for both the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread, which began immediately following. A gentle spring breeze carried the strong aroma of the pure nard perfume into the desert air, that Mary had anointed Jesus’ feet with just the day previous in the town of Bethany (John 12:3). It was truly an entry of triumph. The arrest and death warrant from the powerful Jewish council, the Sanhedrin, was still active for Jesus (John 11:53 & John 11:57); but no one in that moment could think of anything but shouting for joy! The same people whom Thomas had see at the tomb of Lazarus just days before, when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, were now shouting of these very things as Jesus continued into the city! At this, even more people ran to meet Him (John 12:17-18).


23And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.” (John 12:23 NASB)


Then, Jesus did something no one was expecting. He prayed to the Father in heaven, “Father, glorify Your name!” At that moment, Thomas, along with the other eleven disciples and all others around Jesus were startled as a voice was heard thundering from heaven! “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again!” (John 12:28 HCSB). With eyes wide, loud gasps and murmuring were heard all around. This was now the third time a voice had thundered from heaven to affirm the work and ministry of Jesus. The first was at His baptism (Matthew 3:17), the second was at His transfiguration (Matthew 17:5) and now the third time was here at His triumphal entry into Jerusalem for Passover (John 12:28).


30Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes.” (John 12:30 NASB)


The disciples further recalled that Jesus had insisted on washing all of His twelve disciple’s feet after the Passover meal (John 13:4-5). They also remembered the significance of Judas Iscariot being handed the bread dipped in wine, which announced him as the one to betray Jesus. Jesus had told Judas Iscariot to do what he was planning, and Judas ate the bread and left the room (Psalm 41:9). At the time, the other eleven could not comprehend the meaning, but in retrospect, all had become crystal clear (John 13:26-27). The eleven remaining disciples spoke of experiencing a foot washing, one of the most base and servant oriented tasks, from their powerful and prestigious leader, Jesus Christ. It was revolutionary to their thinking of leadership. Jesus also prophesied that Simon Peter would deny even knowing Jesus three times before the rooster crowed the following morning, and they recalled the agonizing moments before the sun would rise when this indeed happened (Luke 22:54-62 & John 13:38).


They then spoke of the time that followed the Passover dinner where the eleven of them traveled with Jesus, in the dark of night, across the Kidron Valley to the Mount of Olives (Luke 22:39 & John 18:1). It was there that Jesus had asked them to pray and keep watch. It was there that Jesus prayed for this cup of suffering to pass, if it was the Father’s will. But surrendering His own will to the Father’s in order to glorify the Father, He accepted His brutal task (Luke 22:42). It was there that Judas Iscariot, for a little money, betrayed Jesus (Luke 22:5 & Luke 22:48). It was there, within the olive grove, that Jesus was arrested by the chief priests, officers of the temple guard and elders whom had heard Him preach in the temple courts day in and day out (Luke 22:52-53).


The eleven then recalled the lunacy that surrounded Jesus’ time before the high priest of the Sanhedrin, Caiaphas (John 18:13-14), Pilot, Herod and then again back to Pilot (Luke 23:1-25). The whole process was absolutely depraved and steeped in evil (John 18:28-40). The divine substitute for our sins, Jesus Christ, did not speak out to defend His own cause (Isaiah 53:7). A murderer and known criminal, Barabas had been released to the people, as was a Passover tradition to release one prisoner, to ensure that Jesus would indeed be crucified (Luke 23:25).


The physical and mental violence that the body and mind of Jesus endured was so extreme that He was unable to carry His own cross to His execution (Luke 23:26). Yet, as Jesus finally hung upon the cross, in the place of the Skull (called Golgotha in Aramaic, John 19:17), amidst the vehement insults and demonic laughter mixed with wailing and mourning of the crowd, it was forgiveness and determined love that He continued to extend to all (Psalm 34:20, Isaiah 40:9, Isaiah 42:1 & Zechariah 12:10).


“34Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided His clothes and cast lots.” (Psalm 22:18 & Luke 23:34 HCSB)


An insulting sign written in Hebrew, Latin and Greek, created by Pilot read “This is the King of the Jews” (Luke 23:38). Although insults were hurled at Jesus until the final moment, it was His love and divine ability to extend pardon that allowed Jesus to pay the penalty for each of our sins—that we have all committed (Jeremiah 33:8, Romans 3:23 & Romans 5:12).


“But He was pierced because of our transgressions, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on Him, and we are healed by His wounds.” (Isaiah 53:5 HCSB)


After Jesus had given up His spirit, the sky grew black for three hours and the veil in the Holy of Holies within the Temple, was ripped from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split! People no longer needed to go to the Temple to be declared clean before a high priest, but now each heart could go directly to God through Jesus Christ (Isaiah 6:6-7, Matthew 27:51, Luke 23:45 & Hebrews 4:14-16 & Hebrews 6:20)!


Oh, but the best was yet to come! The Lover and Creator of the human heart was not done. Freedom from eternal bondage was still yet to be shared with those He loved. The tomb was discovered to be empty on the third day, by Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and other women. They then saw two men at the empty tomb, dressed in glowing apparel that asked, “why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has been resurrected (Luke 24:4-8)!” They ran to get the eleven disciples. While Mary Magdalene wept violently, thinking someone had stolen the body, Jesus appeared to her outside of the empty tomb (Luke 24:6 & John 20:11-18). Jesus then appeared to His disciples (Luke 24: 44-49, John 20:19-23 & John 20:24-29).


In His truest form, Jesus gently comes into our stories and meets us in our places of grief and doubt, then whispers assurance to our hearts that victory over all forms of suffering is found only in the mighty name of Jesus Christ (Hosea 13:14, Isaiah 48:6 & 1 Corinthians 15:55-57). As we celebrate this Easter season, may our attention be brought to victory that is ours if we accept the ultimate act of devotion, through Jesus Christ’s example of ascending love (2 Corinthians 5:17).

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