I had walked over that stick countless times and only ever seen a nuisance, Yet, right there on the other side of a 2×8 was something far more glorious and beautiful than clean steps: a home, a labor of love, and the miracle of new life. I have often thought of that stick and the poignant reminder that things aren’t always what they seem.
Whatever happens, remember God is bigger than your questions. We finish the month with a critical moment recorded in John 20:19-29. Although Thomas was one of Jesus’ disciples, He hadn’t yet seen Jesus face-to-face after the resurrection. When the rest of the...
Like other people, there’s a chance you have entertained thoughts about returning to an easier, more comfortable way of life—one that pushes God aside. When the pressure is on, even Christians can become disillusioned with following Jesus.
The only thing that is needed is to believe. So simple, yet I almost missed it. It saddens me to know that our very human compulsion to add “things” to God’s promise of salvation happens because we think it can’t be as easy as it sounds. But it is that easy. And I love our great God for that.
Whatever happens, remember Jesusis alive. We’ll look at Easter through John’s perspective in John 18:1–20:18. As the disciples experienced the events of the crucifixion, from Jesus’ arrest in the garden to His death, they must have wondered if everything they shared...
The journey of the cross was a nightmare for those who witnessed it first-hand, but one they couldn’t wake up from. As we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, we reorient ourselves to our eternal reality – the grave has been defeated, death has lost its sting. When we feel lost, when the world feels too large and uncertain, Easter serves as a resounding alarm in which we reawaken to our King who is seated on His throne with glory and power.
Easter is the celebration of all celebrations! Jesus Christ has conquered sin and death and is raised to life. The resurrection of Jesus is not some legend that has been passed down through the ages meant to give us an excuse for another holiday.
As Joseph of Arimathea carefully took Jesus’ broken body down from the cross and reverently wrapped it in the linen shroud, I can imagine his stunned disbelief. He had invested time following Jesus, seeking answers, hoping that He truly was the Messiah, the Savior of Israel. And now it was over.
I imagine Joseph had been waiting all afternoon, holding his breath, for Jesus to throw off death as easily as He’d done it for Lazarus. As the finality of His last breath sunk in, he must have been so devastated, so confused. Wait, what?
On a spring day in the early first century, the entire universe experienced this moment. The light of the noonday sun was overcome as the darkest moment in all of history occurred. But it is in the darkness that the new day begins. In the Bible, the new day begins not at sunrise, but at sunset – and there was evening and morning the first day (Gen 1:5). The Sabbath, the rest of God, begins at sunset on Friday. The gateway to God’s rest opens in the darkness.
“Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews,” was nailed to a cross and hung between two criminals. As His heartless enemies gloated and haggled over His torn and tattered garments, those who loved Him may have watched in similar despair, horror, and disgust.
As Jesus carried His cross to Golgatha, He’d been beaten, bruised, and weakened. Certainly, He struggled under the weight. To move the journey along, a man was pulled from the crowd and forced to walk behind Jesus and carry His cross. The Bible tells us little about this man, Simon of Cyrene. Was he there to jeer? To worship? To watch? We know only that he was there, and somehow that is enough.
Our knee jerk reaction is to live by the flesh and rebel against grace. We all have. And do. Yet, when people mocked Jesus, He didn’t fight back to prove His Worth, He just kept following His purpose. Our purpose is to become Christ-like. It’s a process and journey of becoming. But I tell you what- we cannot become like Him apart from suffering and loving hard people. Sometimes we need tough love.
Sometimes we need to be at the feet of Jesus with an open, soft, confessing heart.
The sting of rejection burns our hearts like little else. It cuts straight to the soul, spurring a torrent of lies: I am unloved. I am unacceptable. I am unchosen. Yet surprisingly, paradoxically, the grace that rescues us from the pain of rejection comes through a divinely appointed rejection. Isaiah prophesied of Jesus, “He was despised and rejected,” and we see this most vividly in the moment of Jesus’ condemnation.
We are accountable for the words we choose to use. As believers who have put off the old self and put on the new self, we have to make a conscious effort to move from using corrupting words to using encouraging words.
Whatever happens, remember God is still working. This week we head to an incredible moment John recorded in John 12:9-16. God’s people had waited for generations for God to send the Messiah. They were overwhelmed when Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem....
When Jesus stood before Pilate accused of crimes He did not commit, I imagine that those who knew who He was must have wondered why He did not do more. To a person who doesn’t understand His love, it may seem like Jesus wasn’t doing enough. But the truth is that by not doing anything in those moments, He was doing everything.
All winter long, with the grass dead and dormant, our sheep depend on us daily to feed them hay (and they will let us know, in no uncertain terms, if they are lacking anything!). But in the spring, the barren, brown field gradually transforms to a lush, green pasture with grass so juicy that they barely need extra water. Like us, our sheep need different things in different seasons.
There’s a tension we may experience between truth and love: telling someone the truth doesn’t always seem loving, and sometimes loving people can feel as though it comes at the expense of telling the truth.
Whatever happens, remember how powerful God is. We start the month with friends of Jesus who had lost all hope. John records an incredible moment that we findin John 11:1-45. When Lazarus died, Jesus used the opportunity to point people to God. Jesus was stronger...
But then Wordle entered the scene. When I first started playing, I told myself I would do my quiet time with God first and then leave the last five minutes to guess the word. No harm in that, right? I started bringing my phone into the living room, but I told myself I wouldn’t look at it until after my quiet time. Well, you can guess how things progressed.
I take my time with God very seriously. But when my phone was in front of me, my actions did not reflect my priorities.
Most of us are desperate for hope—especially words of hope spoken to us by others. In difficult or terrible circumstances, hearing the right words can completely change our course. And here’s the thing about words of hope; they’re contagious.
Make a habit of working together. We wrap up our study on cooperation in Acts 2:42-47. As people began putting their faith in Jesus, several needs started to arise. At the beginning of Acts, Luke offers some insight into how the early church shared what they had and...
From where I stood, the water barely reached my ankles before retreating. This ocean, larger than any city, more powerful than any crowd, fell apart after stretching so far across the sand. Because the ocean has limits. And so do we.
When many of us think Easter, egg hunts and chocolate bunnies immediately come to mind. While much of today’s Easter festivities focus more around the coming of spring than the resurrection of our Savior, the heart of the holiday will always resound with a hallelujah – He is Risen! This Easter, here are some fun and easy ways to keep Christ at the center of your family’s celebration.
Words have power. Power to build up or power to destroy. Armed with any other weapon as strong as words, you might be required to be trained and certified. That’s not a bad idea.
Work together to help someone in need. In week three, we head to a story found in Luke 5:17- 26. We discover a paralyzed man who just happened to have some excellent friends. When they heard that Jesus was in town, they tried everything to get their friend to Jesus....
I don’t know who that child was, but I could imagine how they felt. Proudly bringing their favorite pie into school, looking forward to sharing it with friends…and then the embarrassment and sadness of seeing it had been ruined. I’ve been there. And yet without me knowing what would happen, God had provided a perfect replacement.
We live in a world that is more connected than ever before. This is something to be excited about, right? But what if the connection we are experiencing isn’t what God intended?
Work together to help someone succeed. For week two, we look at Exodus 17:8-13, at a time where Joshua is leading the Israelites in a fierce battle against the Amalekites. When Moses held up his staff, the Israelites were winning the battle. When Moses got tired,...
In short order, simple love was transforming this puppy, and I was lucky enough to have a front row seat to the show. The simple love I was able to give Murphy has nothing on the love God has for us – as it says in Ephesians, His love surpasses knowledge. Every empty place inside of us, God’s love has the power to fill.