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Daily Devotion

boldstardex

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"For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:7-8
GOD’S MEDAL OF HONOR
September 2, 2019
The ultimate act of heroism is when a person gives his or her life for another person’s life, especially friends, comrades or family. Michael Monsoor was a navy SEAL fighting in the Iraqi War. One day while in battle, a grenade literally hit him on the chest and fell at his feet. In a split second decision, he threw himself onto that grenade, saving the lives of his fellow navy SEALs.
His lieutenant, one of the men who were saved, had this to say about Michael: “He never took his eye off the grenade. His only movement was down towards it. He undoubtedly saved mine and the other SEAL’s lives, and we owe him.” Michel’s actions were awarded our nation’s highest honor, the Medal of Honor. What bravery, courage and love that must have taken for this soldier to give his own life for that of his friends.
It’s one thing to die for your friends, your buddies, or your family members, but Christ died for those who were killing Him, who murdered Him. Christ died for those who were not with Him. He died for all of us! It was our sin that killed Him.
Yet, sadly, most people in American culture think, “If I can be good enough, then that will make me a Christian.” Romans 5:8, however, disputes this claim. The fact is, that while we are sinners, while we are ungodly and helpless in overcoming our sinfulness, Christ died for our sins. So it’s not a matter of getting your life good enough and then bam, you’re a Christian. It’s are you willing to accept what Christ has done for you — will you accept this gift of love that Christ died, paying the penalty for your sins?
Jesus laid down His life, not just for His friends, but for all of us who nailed Him to the cross. And that, my friends, is the greatest act of heroism and love of all.
 

boldstardex

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"Give ear and hear my voice, listen and hear my words." Isaiah 28:23
HEARING THROUGH THE NOISE
September 3, 2019
NOISE.
It’s everywhere.
Ever notice how noise fills our lives? We wake to music or alarms. We get in the car and turn on the radio, start up a podcast, or play our favorite playlist. When we walk into the house or a hotel room, the first thing we do is turn on the TV. It seems that, with noise, we just don’t feel so alone. But sometimes, we use the noise as a buffer to keep from thinking about our problems or doing things we know we should do.
In the midst of all of this noise, don’t miss the most important voice of all – God’s.
In 1 Kings, the Bible tells us that God sometimes speaks in a still, small voice. In the busyness and noisiness of our lives, it’s easy to miss Him. The only way to hear Him is to make an intentional effort to quiet the noise of our lives and spend some time listening, through prayer and reading His Word. You will never get a more important phone call or crucial message.
Find some time each day to be alone and quiet, and listen to the most important voice of all. It will enrich your life tremendously.
 

boldstardex

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Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done.
PSALM 40:5


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September 5
The Last Word
Bible in a Year :
Psalms 146–147; 1 Corinthians 15:1–28

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

1 Corinthians 15:19
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
1 Corinthians 15:12–19
Her name was Saralyn, and I sort of had a crush on her back in our school days. She had the most wonderful laugh. I’m not sure whether she knew about my crush, but I suspect she did. After graduation I lost track of her. Our lives went in different directions as lives often do.
I keep up with my graduating class in some online forums, and I was intensely sad when I heard that Saralyn died. I found myself wondering about the direction her life had taken over the years. This is happening more and more the older I grow, this experience of losing friends and family. But many of us tend to avoid talking about it.
While we still sorrow, the hope the apostle Paul talks about is that death doesn’t have the final say (1 Corinthians 15:54–55). There is something that follows, another word: resurrection. Paul grounds that hope in the reality of the resurrection of Christ (v. 12), and says “if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (v. 14). If our hope as believers is limited to this world only, that’s just a pity (v. 19).
We will one day see those again who have “fallen asleep in Christ” (v. 18)—grandparents and parents, friends and neighbors, or perhaps even old schoolyard crushes.
Death doesn’t get the last word. Resurrection does.
By: John Blase
Reflect & Pray
What does Christ’s resurrection mean to you? How might you express your faith and point someone to the hope of the resurrection?
Jesus, may the power of Your resurrection become more and more evident in my life. May it be clear in my words and actions, especially as I interact with those who do not know You.
 

boldstardex

Moderator
"...with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." - 2 Peter 3:8
WHAT IS TIME – REALLY?
September 4, 2019
Time. It’s a pretty interesting subject, don’t you think? In fact, the concept of time has long been problematical for philosophers. There is even considerable controversy among biblical scholars as to precisely how “time” is employed in the divine scheme of things.
Did you know that God doesn’t see time as you and I do? The Bible tells us that to God, one day is as 1000 years and 1000 years are as one day. He sees the past, present, and future all at once. That blows my mind. We are so finite.
We begin, we end. God always was, is, and will be. Isn’t that amazing?
When we get to heaven, there will be no clocks, no calendars – just unlimited time. The very thought unsettles me, because our lives orbit around time: minutes in an hour, and days in a week, month and year. A place with no time just boggles my mind. But we’ll never be tired, and that will be great!
Even though God is above time, at the perfect time, He became one of us – as a baby boy named Jesus. He stepped onto the pages of history right on time – BC/AD – it was the zero hour. God revealed Himself in order to save us from sin, offering us eternal life – a timeless life with Him. Isn’t that amazing? Won’t you take “time” to consider what this means for you personally?
 

boldstardex

Moderator
"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." - John 13:34-35
LOVING OTHERS AS CHRIST
September 10, 2019
It’s sad to have to admit, but Christians really can be incredibly unkind towards others – both inside and outside the church. We are often far too quick to point out the faults of others. We spread gossip and let jealousy get the best of us. It is not a pretty picture, and yet Jesus says that when we love one another, the world will know that we belong to Him.
So, how do we fix this? John Piper, a great Bible teacher, taught on these two verses and said, “Look. … This is a commandment. It’s not a suggestion. We are to love one another.”
You see, when you came to faith in Christ, you realized that your life was on the wrong path. And you turned and said, “Jesus is the right path.” You agreed to Him being the boss. So you said, “Thank you for saving me, but also thank You for being in charge of me now. I submit to Your commands.” So we are commanded (it’s not optional), that we as Christians love each other.
Jesus died for us and forgives us unconditionally — giving us chance after chance and grace after grace. And when we inevitably mess up, Jesus shows up, picks us up, and walks us through the mess. Why can’t we love each other like that? Why can’t we love others who are still struggling in their own sinful, mistake ridden lives? Jesus loved us while we were still sinners … are we doing likewise?
Is there somebody you need to forgive? Somebody you struggle to love? Get it right, so that those outside the church will recognize what it means to be a Christian: loving others they way Jesus first loved us.
 

boldstardex

Moderator
Tongue Tamers
Bible in a Year :
Proverbs 13–15; 2 Corinthians 5

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up.

Ephesians 4:29
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
James 3:1–6
In West with the Night, author Beryl Markham detailed her work with Camciscan, a feisty stallion she was tasked with taming. She’d met her match with Camciscan. No matter what strategy she employed, she could never fully tame the proud stallion, chalking up only one victory over his stubborn will.
How many of us feel this way in the battle to tame our tongues? While James compares the tongue to the bit in a horse’s mouth or a ship’s rudder (James 3:3–5), he also laments, “Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be” (v. 10).
So, how can we win the battle over the tongue? The apostle Paul offers tongue-taming advice. The first involves speaking only the truth (Ephesians 4:25). This is not a license to be painfully blunt, however. Paul follows up with “do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up” (v. 29). We can also take out the trash: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice” (v. 31). Is this easy? Not if we attempt to do it on our own. Thankfully, we have the Holy Spirit who helps us as we rely on Him.
As Markham learned, consistency with Camciscan was needed in the battle of wills. Such is the case in the taming of the tongue.
By: Linda Washington
Reflect & Pray
What do you find most challenging in taming your tongue? What practical steps can you take to win the battle in the coming week?
Jesus, I need You to help me be mindful of the words I use.
 

boldstardex

Moderator
"Therefore, you grieve now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you." John 16:22
FINDING GOD IN GRIEF
September 12, 2019
When you lose a loved one, many people tend to sink deep into the dungeons of darkness as the colors of life fade away. It often makes life feel meaningless. Losing a loved one might even bring your everyday life to a halt or just feel very disoriented.
Some of us have already lost someone close in our lives, while others have yet to walk through that season – but they will. We all do. Because death is something that will come to all of us; it’s just a matter of time. Losing a loved one or a close friend is never easy, but understanding the stages of grief can sometimes help us navigate the journey.
Grief often begins with a feeling of numbness and denial, promoting an inability to accept the news. It’s a sense of disbelief that the person is really gone. Once the reality of death settles in, a whole new wave of grief and emotions come crashing in. It’s an emotionally challenging season, the specifics of which impact everyone individually.
For many, the loss of a loved one can also lead towards an anger with God as the world continues on as normal, but you’re left picking up the pieces of your now shattered world – never to be the same again. It may stir up feelings of depression, or the outlook that life is now meaningless without that individual. Finally, however, there will come acceptance– a coming to terms with the loss, and beginning to move on with life as you navigate your new normal without this person.
The grieving process takes time, but it doesn’t have to crush you. 2 Corinthians 1: 3-5 reminds us that even in the darkest pain and grief, God wants to be our greatest comforter : “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.”
God doesn’t rejoice in our sufferings. He grieves. He wants to comfort us. Why? So that we can in turn comfort others as they walk through seasons of pain and suffering. So, when you feel like you might be consumed by grief, cling to God’s strength. God understands loss – He saw His own Son, Jesus, die on the cross. God knows what you’re feeling and He wants to offer you hope, comfort, and strength to navigate each day. Will you let Him walk with you?
 

boldstardex

Moderator
More than Water
Bible in a Year :
Proverbs 27–29; 2 Corinthians 10

All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Galatians 3:27
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Galatians 3:23–29
One of my earliest childhood memories of church was a pastor walking down the aisle, challenging us to “remember the waters of our baptism.” Remember the waters? I asked myself. How can you remember water? He then proceeded to splash everyone with water, which as a young child both delighted and confused me.
Why should we think about baptism? When a person is baptized, there’s so much more to it than water. Baptism symbolizes how through faith in Jesus, we’ve become “clothed” with Him (Galatians 3:27). Or in other words, it’s celebrating that we belong to Him and that He lives in and through us.
As if that weren’t significant enough, the passage tells us that if we’ve been clothed with Christ our identity is found in Him. We’re the very children of God (v. 26). As such, we’ve been made right with God by faith—not by following Old Testament law (vv. 23–25). We’re not divided against one another by gender, culture, and status. We’re set free and brought into unity through Christ and are now His own (v. 29).
So there are very good reasons to remember baptism and all it represents. We aren’t simply focusing on the act itself but that we belong to Jesus and have become children of God. Our identity, future, and spiritual freedom are found in Him.
 

boldstardex

Moderator
“And God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Genesis 1: 26
THROUGH GOD’S EYES
September 17, 2019
Let’s be honest – judging others is easy. Think about it: How often do we meet someone new and judge their looks, intelligence or career compared to ourselves? We place them on a scale, giving them value based on the world’s criteria. Some measure up, while others don’t. But God says that we are to look for HIM in others, whether they appear seemingly ordinary or incredibly talented. Through the vast diversity of people and personalities, God is displaying something of Himself through each and every one of us.
Think of the smallest and weakest person according to the world’s eyes. Even he is displaying something glorious about the character and the nature of God. What about the person that you constantly disagree with—your office competitor or nemesis? Yes, even that individual is made in the image of God. If every person we meet is made in the image of God, then we must treat every human being with dignity and honor – including ourselves.
When we understand that our lives are gifts from God, that changes how we live. When we see God’s image in others, that changes our response to those around us. Our lives are not our own. We were created to reflect God’s image. And whenever we put people down, whenever we use people for our own good, whenever we cheat, or gossip or judge someone’s worth based on race or class or political opinion, we disrespect the image of God in them.
Are you struggling with judging and comparing yourself and others? Ask God for a perspective shift – because when we view ourselves and others through God’s eyes, nothing looks the same.
 

boldstardex

Moderator
Turn and Run
Bible in a Year :
Proverbs 30–31; 2 Corinthians 11:1–15

Resist [the devil], standing firm in the faith.

1 Peter 5:9
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
1 Peter 5:8–10
Ali was a beautiful, smart, and talented teenager with loving parents. But after high school something prompted her to try heroin. Her parents noticed changes in her and sent her to a rehabilitation facility after Ali eventually admitted the impact it was having on her. After treatment, they asked what she would tell her friends about trying drugs. Her advice: “Just turn and run.” She urged that “just saying no” wasn’t enough.
Tragically, Ali relapsed and died at age twenty-two of an overdose. In an attempt to keep others from the same fate, her heartbroken parents appeared on a local news program encouraging listeners to “run for Ali” by staying far from situations where they could be exposed to drugs and other dangers.
The apostle Paul urged his spiritual son Timothy (and us) to run from evil (2 Timothy 2:22), and the apostle Peter likewise warned, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith” (1 Peter 5:8–9).
None of us is immune to temptation. And often the best thing to do is to steer clear of situations where we’ll be tempted—though they can’t always be avoided. But we can be better prepared by having a strong faith in God based in the Bible and strengthened through prayer. When we “[stand] firm in the faith” we’ll know when to turn and run to Him.
By: Alyson Kieda
Reflect & Pray
In what area(s) are you particularly susceptible to temptation? What has helped you to resist?
Dear God, there are so many temptations out there. Help us to watch and pray so that we won’t fall. And thank You for welcoming us back when we do.
 

boldstardex

Moderator
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September 23
A Shield Around Me
Bible in a Year :
Song of Songs 1–3; Galatians 2

But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high.

Psalm 3:3
Psalm 3

Our church experienced an agonizing loss when Paul, our gifted worship minister, died at the age of thirty-one in a boating accident. Paul and his wife, DuRhonda, were no strangers to pain; they had buried several children who hadn’t made it to term. Now there would be another grave near the small graves of these little ones. The life-crushing crisis this family experienced hit those who loved them like a knockout blow to the head.
David was no stranger to personal and family crises. In Psalm 3, he found himself overwhelmed because of the rebellion of his son Absalom. Rather than stay and fight, he chose to flee his home and throne (2 Samuel 15:13–23). Though “many” considered him forsaken by God (Psalm 3:2), David knew better; he saw the Lord as his protector (v. 3), and he called upon Him accordingly (v. 4). And so did DuRhonda. In the midst of her grief, when hundreds had gathered to remember her husband, she raised her soft, tender voice in a song that expressed confidence in God.
When doctors’ reports are not encouraging, when financial pressures won’t ease up, when efforts to reconcile relationships fail, when death has left those we cherish in its wake—may we too be strengthened to say, “But you, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, the One who lifts my head high” (v. 3).
By: Arthur Jackson
Reflect & Pray
How did you respond the last time you found yourself in an overwhelming situation? How does knowing God is a shield around you help?
Heavenly Father, help me to see that though life can be uncomfortable, I can find comfort in You.
 

boldstardex

Moderator
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3: 26-28
PLAYING FAVORITES PART 2
September 25, 2019
For Christians, our identity should be in Jesus. All other characteristics such as race, ethnicity, nationality, and gender take second place. And the more we surrender our lives to Jesus, the more pride, prejudice and even racism begin to fall away. So what steps can we take to be part of the change our society so desperately needs?
  1. PRAY– Pray for people of other races by name. (If you can’t think of many, that says a lot). Pray for those in power, those instrumental in creating change. Finally, pray for yourself – that God would reveal and remove the prejudices in your own heart, whether big or small.
  2. SPEAK – Start conversations with those whose lives and stories are different from yours.
  3. LISTEN – Listen to the different experiences and opinions of others. A meal, especially in your home, is a great place to start.
  4. CELEBRATE – Celebrate our diversity. The Bible describes heaven when every tribe, every nation, and every language will be represented and praising God together. What a day that will be! (Revelation 7:9-10)
So what can we do in the face of such complex issues such as racism, prejudice and social injustice? We can pray. And that prayer might need to begin with asking for God’s forgiveness when we judge an entire group of people. We can also talk to others and listen to their stories. And finally, we can celebrate our God-given differences.
 

boldstardex

Moderator
Live Like Jesus Is Coming
Bible in a Year:


Keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

Matthew 25:13
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Matthew 25:1–13
I’m inspired by country singer Tim McGraw’s song “Live Like You Were Dying.” In it he describes some of the exciting “bucket list” things a man did after receiving some bad news about his health. He also chose to love and forgive people more freely—speaking to them more tenderly. The song recommends that we live well, as if knowing our lives will end soon.
This song reminds us that our time is limited. It’s important for us to not put off for tomorrow what we can do today, because one day we’ll run out of tomorrows. This is particularly urgent for believers in Jesus, who believe that Jesus may return at any moment (perhaps in the very second you’re reading this sentence!). Jesus urges us to be ready, not living like the five “foolish” virgins who were caught unprepared when the bridegroom returned (Matthew 25:6–10).
But McGraw’s song doesn’t tell the whole story. We who love Jesus will never run out of tomorrows. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (John 11:25–26). Our life in Him never ends.
So don’t live like you’re dying. Because you’re not. Rather, live like Jesus is coming. Because He is!
By: Mike Wittmer
Reflect & Pray
How will you live today like Jesus is coming soon? How does knowing He could return any day affect your choices?
Jesus, I look forward to the day You’ll return. May I use the time I’ve been given to honor You and to serve others well.
 

boldstardex

Moderator
A Ready Remedy
Bible in a Year:

The punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5

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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Isaiah 53:1–6
Following the park guide, I scribbled notes as he taught about the plants of the Bahamian primeval forest. He told us which trees to avoid. The poisonwood tree, he said, secretes a black sap that causes a painful, itchy rash. But not to worry! The antidote could usually be found growing right next it. “Cut into the red bark of the gum elemi tree,” he said, “and rub the sap on the rash. It will immediately begin to heal.”
I nearly dropped my pencil in astonishment. I hadn’t expected to find a picture of salvation in the forest. But in the gum elemi tree, I saw Jesus. He’s the ready remedy wherever the poison of sin is found. Like the red bark of that tree, the blood of Jesus brings healing.
The prophet Isaiah understood that humanity needed healing. The rash of sin had infected us. Isaiah promised that our healing would come through “a man of suffering” who would take our sickness upon Himself (Isaiah 53:3). That man was Jesus. We were sick, but Christ was willing to be wounded in our place. When we believe in Him, we are healed from the sickness of sin (v. 5). It may take a lifetime to learn to live as those who’re healed—to recognize our sins and to reject them in favor of our new identity—but because of Jesus, we can.
By: Amy Peterson
Reflect & Pray
What other pictures in the natural world do you see of the salvation God offers us? What has the healing He offers meant to you?
Wherever sin is, Jesus is there, ready to save.
 

boldstardex

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"He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him." - Isaiah 53:2b
OUR OBSESSION WITH BEAUTY
October 1, 2019
Have you noticed that our society worships outward appearance? If you’re alive and breathing, how could you NOT notice? Celebrities, musicians, reality stars are typically highly attractive men and gorgeous women. And thanks to social media, their professional and personal lives are on display for all to see.
So, when God sent His Son to be the biggest star the world’s stage has ever known, it’s interesting that He chose for Him to look very ordinary – not like the beautiful faces splashed across our tv screens, movies and social media. In fact, according to our Scripture reference today, Jesus wasn’t much to look at (Isaiah 53: 2b). Now, that might be a surprise to some as they think about the Son of God, but God sought to identify with the majority of us. Sure, there are a few handsome men and beautiful women out there, but there sure are a lot more of us ordinary-looking folks!
But all that was Jesus in His earthly ministry. What does He look like now, seated at the right hand of God in heaven? The Bible tells us that Jesus gave a sneak peak of His fully glory to three of His closest disciples. Leading them up high on a mountain Jesus was “…transfigured before them; and His face shown like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.”
So, here’s the good news for today: One day, Jesus will return and we will all easily recognize Him as the Son of God. And more good news for those who trust in Him is that we, too, will receive new bodies -perfect bodies – that never get sick and tired, that never age and die. Like Jesus, our new bodies will be dazzling, and we ordinary folks will be eternally grateful.
 

boldstardex

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God’s Heart for Hypocrites
Bible in a Year:

She is more righteous than I.

Genesis 38:26
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Genesis 38:16–26
“I’d be very disappointed if one of our team members did that,” said a cricket player, referring to a South African cricketer who’d cheated in a match in 2016. But only two years later, that same player was caught in a nearly identical scandal.
Few things rankle us more than hypocrisy. But in the story of Judah in Genesis 38, Judah’s hypocritical behavior nearly had deadly consequences. After two of his sons died soon after marrying Tamar, Judah had quietly abandoned his duty to provide for her needs (vv. 8–11). In desperation, Tamar disguised herself by wearing a prostitute’s veil, and Judah slept with her (vv. 15–16).
Yet when Judah learned that his widowed daughter-in-law was pregnant, his reaction was murderous. “Bring her out and have her burned to death!” he demanded (v. 24). But Tamar had proof that Judah was the father (v. 25).
Judah could have denied the truth. Instead he admitted his hypocrisy, and also accepted his responsibility to care for her, saying, “She is more righteous than I” (v. 26).
And God wove even this dark chapter of Judah and Tamar’s story into His story of our redemption. Tamar’s children (vv. 29–30) would become ancestors of Jesus (Matthew 1:2–3).
Why is Genesis 38 in the Bible? One reason is because it’s the story of our hypocritical human hearts—and of God’s heart of love, grace, and mercy.
By: Tim Gustafson
Reflect & Pray
How do you react when you become aware of your hypocrisy? What would happen if we all became truly transparent with each other?
Help me to see, Father, that at the heart of the matter, we’re all hypocrites who need Your forgiveness.
 

boldstardex

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October 8
Shelter from the Storm
Bible in a Year:

When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.

Exodus 33:22
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Exodus 33:12–23
As the story goes, in 1763, a young minister, traveling on a cliffside road in Somerset, England, ducked into a cave to escape the flashes of lightning and pounding rain. As he looked out at Cheddar Gorge, he pondered the gift of finding shelter and peace in God. Waiting there, he began to write a hymn, “Rock of Ages,” with its memorable opening lines: “Rock of Ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee.”
We don’t know if Augustus Toplady thought about Moses’s experience in the cleft of a rock while writing the hymn (Exodus 33:22), but perhaps he did. The Exodus account tells of Moses seeking God’s reassurance and God’s response. When Moses asked God to reveal His glory to him, God answered graciously, knowing that “no one may see me and live” (v. 20). He tucked Moses into the rocks when He passed by, letting Moses only see His back. And Moses knew that God was with him.
We can trust that just as God said to Moses, “My Presence will go with you” (v. 14), so too we can find refuge in Him. We may experience many storms in our lives, as did Moses and the English minister in the story, but when we cry out to Him, He will give us the peace of His presence.
By: Amy Boucher Pye
Reflect & Pray
As you look back at various seasons of your life, how do you see God’s loving presence during the storms? How do you experience His presence today?
Father God, help me to trust that You’re with me, even during the storms of life.
 

boldstardex

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October 10
Don’t Forget!
Bible in a Year:

He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

Acts 1:9
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Acts 1:1–11
My niece, her four-year-old daughter Kailyn, and I had a wonderful Saturday afternoon together. We enjoyed blowing bubbles outside, coloring in a princess coloring book, and eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. When they got in the car to leave, Kailyn sweetly called out the opened window, “Don’t forget me, Auntie Anne.” I quickly walked toward the car and whispered, “I could never forget you. I promise I will see you soon.”
In Acts 1, the disciples watched as Jesus was “taken up before their very eyes” into the sky (v. 9). I wonder if they thought they might be forgotten by their Master. But He’d just promised to send His Spirit to live in them and empower them to handle the persecution that was to come (v. 8). And He’d taught them He was going away to prepare a place for them and would come back and take them to be with Him (John 14:3). Yet they must have wondered how long they would have to wait. Perhaps they wanted to say, “Don’t forget us, Jesus!”
For those of us who have put our faith in Jesus, He lives in us through the Holy Spirit. We still may wonder when He will come again and restore us and His creation fully. But it will happen—He won’t forget us. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).
By: Anne Cetas
Reflect & Pray
How do you sense God’s presence in your life? What are you looking forward to the most in eternity?
We enjoy walking with You now, but we look forward to the day when all things will be fully restored. Come soon, Lord Jesus.
 

boldstardex

Moderator
The Main Actor
Bible in a Year:

The Lord has done this.

Psalm 118:23
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Today's Scripture & Insight:
Psalm 118:6–9, 21–25
I once heard about a student taking a class in preaching at a prominent seminary. The student, a young man who was a bit full of himself, delivered his sermon with eloquence and evident passion. He sat down self-satisfied, and the professor paused a moment before responding. “That was a powerful sermon,” he said. “It was well organized and moving. The only problem is that God was not the subject of a single one of your sentences.”
The professor highlighted a problem all of us struggle with at times: We can talk as if we’re the primary actor (emphasizing what we do, what we say) when in truth God is the primary actor in life. We often profess that God is somehow generally “in charge,” but we act as if all the outcomes depend on us.
The Scriptures insist that God is the true subject of our lives, the true force. Even our necessary acts of faith are done “in the name of the Lord”—in the Lord’s power (Psalm 118:10–11). God enacts our salvation. God rescues us. God tends to our needs. “The Lord has done this” (v. 23).
So the pressure’s off. We don’t need to fret, compare, work with compulsive energy, or feed our many anxieties. God is in charge. We need only trust and follow His lead in obedience.
By: Winn Collier
Reflect & Pray
When are you most tempted to think you’re the main actor of your life? How has God invited you to let Him be the center of your life?
God, I’ve been paying lip service to You being in charge of my world. It’s exhausting, and I want to stop doing that. Help me trust You.
 

boldstardex

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“But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. 'Don’t be alarmed,' he said. 'You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.'” - Mark 16: 4-6
THE GOSPEL: GOD’S GOOD NEWS
October 15, 2019
Everyone loves a winner – especially when that winner is an underdog. It’s the feeling of overcoming tons of obstacles and silencing the critics to accomplish the impossible. Jesus was familiar with obstacles and especially critics. In fact, it was His loudest critics who schemed for His death on the cross. Thankfully, Jesus experienced the ultimate victory.
Three days after Jesus was crucified and buried, a group of women returned to His tomb to complete the burial tradition of anointing the body with spices. When they arrived, however, they found the huge stone that had been blocking the tomb’s entrance rolled away. The tomb was empty; Jesus had risen!
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is incredibly good news that follows the worst news possible. What’s the bad news? Jesus, an innocent man, was unjustly tried and executed. Even worse news: our sins unjustly murdered Him. Then the good news arrives – Jesus is alive! He conquered all of our sin. He even overcame our greatest enemy – death. And amazingly, He offers us forgiveness of our sins if we ask Him. Do you see how the Gospel is good news that follows bad news?
Jesus took the punishment that we all so clearly deserve so that we can be forgiven of our sins and be made right with God. When Christ rose from the dead, He conquered both sin and death so that, for followers of Jesus, not even death can separate us from God. That is incredibly good news! Have you experienced the truth of the Gospel in your life?
 
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